One of the "writers’ block" suggestions last weekend was to write on the topic of "sinners in the hands of an angry God". You have probably heard of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon of that name, and maybe you know that John Piper has done quite a bit of research into Edwards, his theology, his life. Googling any of the above leads to around 46,700 articles on the web, so I don’t want to lead you down a path you when so many other folks have done such a wonderful and studious job already.
But can I take it a slightly different direction? Most of my interaction with this sermon has been on the "sinners" part and on the "angry God" part, making the case that we’re all sinners and God is decidedly hacked off. But there’s a line towards the end of the wikipedia entry that got my attention: "The underlying point, often overlooked in this sermon, is that God has given humanity a chance to rectify their sins. Edwards says that it is the will of God that keeps wicked men from the depths of Hell; this act of restraint has given humanity a chance to change their ways and return to Christ."
One of the questions I have is to whom is God angry? to what? We are the sinners, He is the angry God – but who’s He really angry at? It’s not necessarily us as sinners, perhaps. Maybe He’s more mad at the stuff of this world, the things in our lives, our culture, our environment, that take us away from Him, that distract us and harm us. Maybe it’s the "fall of man" where we decided that we could take on the Knowledge of Good and Evil apart from any relationship with Him. Maybe He’s mad at all that – and not at us. In His hands, maybe we’re actually being protected, given opportunity to realize His restorative and redemptive and reconciliatory bent towards us, His friends.
Just a thought.