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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Being angry with God!

After the Worship Service at Ladywell Baptist Church, Livingston, this morning (I was the visiting preacher, and my wife the guest soloist), one gentleman asked me if I have ever been angry with God!  It's not the kind of question I am usually asked at the door of a church building!

My answer was in the affirmative.

Later, I recalled the story of a bird that spent a whole day building a nest in a pile of branches that had been pruned from a tree in an orchard.  In the evening, however, the farmer noticed the nest - and scattered the twigs and bits of straw all over the grass!

The next day, the little bird resumed her task - but, once again, the farmer destroyed her work!

A third time she started her building project - but, this time, in a rosebush beside the kitchen door.  The farmer smiled, and allowed her to finish her project.

What, obviously, the little bird didn't know (but the farmer did!), was that the pile of branches in which she had started her nest-building was to be burned - long before her eggs would have hatched.  If the farmer had allowed her to have her way, she could never have enjoyed her young.  Yet I imagine that the bird would have claimed that she had every reason to be angry with the farmer!

Asaph - a Hebrew song-writer who penned, among others, the words of Psalm 77, wrote "Will the Lord spurn for ever, and never again be favourable?  Has His steadfast love for ever ceased?  Are His promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious?  Has He in anger shut up His compassion?" (vs.7-9; RSV).

It seemed, to Asaph, as if YHWH had forsaken both him and his nation.  He began to wonder if the God of Israel had changed.  He may even have been a little bit angry at what might have been interpreted as a form of betrayal!  However, as he reflected upon YHWH's ways in the past, and meditated upon His holiness and incomparable glory, he realised that Almighty God remains the same - forever.  He is the unchanging, and unchangeable One.

You and I may not always be able to trace His footsteps for, like ships on the sea, they leave no imprint.  But we may totally trust His loving care and guidance.  While it may sometimes appear that God is cruel when He breaks up our nest of cherished hopes and plans; and when we may feel that we have every reason to get angry with Him; we may be certain that His reasons are good, and are for our ultimate benefit.

The Lord is never mean.  In His providence, He is always wonderfully kind, and infinitely wise.

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