Does God get angry?
Talk about a loaded question. Some people would answer quickly, “No!” Others would be fast to shout back, “Absolutely He does!” Both can quote scripture to prove their stance…
For example, for those who believe He gets angry, they would quote Psalms 7:11- “God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses His wrath every day.” And those that would say God doesn’t get angry would quote James 1:20- “for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” They would also share Ephesians 4:31- “Get rid of ALL bitterness, rage, ANGER, brawling, slander, along with every form of malice.” Isaiah writes in 24:7, “I am not angry.”
So is God angry or not? It seems like a contradiction… one scripture says He is angry every day, while others says that all anger is bad, righteousness cannot exist where anger does, and that God himself says He is not angry.
A lot of people say God has a righteous anger that is different than what we have, and that is what James was referring to in 1:20. I have heard a lot about righteous anger in my lifetime. I have yet to find that phrase in a bible, though. In actuality, what I find in scripture is a clear message that anger and righteousness cannot exist in the same place. And as a matter of fact, the quote from Psalms 7:11 is a bit challenging. When I read the Hebrew, I don’t see the word wrath. We would be looking for a word that sounds a lot like “hamat” like in Psalms 76:10 for example, but what David chose to write was the word ”zoem”- which means to denounce or speak against. What David actually writes in Psalm 7:11 is that God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his disapproving judgments every day.
That doesn’t necessarily sound like anger to me. The Hebrew word for anger is “appeka,” and that word isn’t written here either. David used that word in Psalm 7:6, where David calls on God to get angry and to let rage flow against his enemies, trying to wake God up and judge them. David even goes on to tell God that he is righteous, and that God needs to attack the wicked people that are against him. As you can see, David is angry and wants God to be angry, and in the middle of this statement David says verse 11.
But God, Himself, says He is not angry. Scripture does say that He was angry, but then it says He would not always be angry- Isaiah 57:16-17-- “’I will not accuse forever, nor will I always be angry, for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me- the breath of man that I have created. I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,’ says the Lord. ‘And I will heal them.’”
God was angry, but then Jesus came, and He gave us peace (John 14:27). The angels came on the night He was born, and they sang in proclamation that Peace had come to the earth! And Romans 2:4 says, “Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance, and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you toward repentance?” So now, we can see that God wants us to know of His kindness. Ephesians 2:6-7 state that God has placed us on the throne with Him to show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. This means God is trying to show us His kindness because it will bring us into repentance. Speaking of Ephesians 2, in verse 3 you will find the word “wrath” again. But this time, the original words are in Greek. “Orge” is the Greek word for wrath. However, in Ephesians 2:3, the word written is “loipoi” which means- bereavement, as in the loss of a loved one. This is the wrath of God, now. This is His anger.
Lastly, in 1 Corinthians 4:5 Paul talks about the judgment of God. He will bring light to what has been hidden in darkness, and He will expose the motives of men’s hearts. It seems pretty heavy, but the verse doesn’t end there. It has one more sentence, which says, “At that time each will receive his praise from God.” That has often confounded me. Here, Paul writes about the judgment of God and it seems so heavy, almost scary to me. Then, he ends by says that the judgment of God will be to praise us. That got me wondering if I could find a scripture to back up this idea… and I found one: Matthew 25:21, 23. Both times, the Master replies to the faithful servants, “Well done good and faithful servant!” Jesus then goes on through the rest of the chapter to explain more about judgment day and how God will receive those who are faithful.
So does God get angry? I’m not sure. He is definitely not pleased with many, based on their relationship (or lack of one) with Him, but I'm not sure it is Anger. The point I am trying to make here is that if you have a relationship with God then He loves you, remembers your sins no more, and wants to demonstrate His kindness to you. If you don’t have a relationship with God, then He is not angry with you, either. He loves you and is trying to show you His kindness so that you will want a relationship with Him. He made us for relationship with Him. So I choose to focus on His love and not His anger, and I hope that today, you can focus on His love, too
Written by a few for the many.