Summary: In this chapter, we are going to talk about how the Philistines succeeded in appeasing the wrath of an angry God in spite of the fact that they were idols worshipers.
Last week, we talked about the mighty hands of God.
We said that we could either be engraved in the palm of His hands as a sign of His love and protection or fall into the hands of an angry God as a sign of judgment and punishment to sin.
As much as possible, we want to be obedient to Him and receive His protection and care for as long as we live.
But sad to say, there are those who continue to commit and enjoy the pleasures of sin even for a moment and thereby fall under God's condemnation.
And so, the wrath of God is focused upon them.
How do we appease an angry God?
How do we satisfy His desires that His wrath will NOT be focused upon us but instead He will offer His care and love?
In this chapter, we are going to talk about how the Philistines succeeded in appeasing the wrath of an angry God in spite of the fact that they were idols worshipers.
And yet, when the ark of God was upon Israel, they did something that provoked God's wrath.
So far, we have learned that God's hand was heavy upon the Philistines for putting the ark of God in level with their idol Dagon.
And so, God destroyed their idol and brought it face down, broke its head and hands as an expression of God's anger to idol worship.
Afterwards, God inflicted severe tumors, plagues and diseases that spread to the people of Ashdod and their crops until their outcry reached heaven.
Because of this, the Philistines did everything possible to appease the wrath of God by returning the ark of God to Israel with a gift.
They followed the ark until they recognized that God 's anger has been fully satisfied.
You see, God is not only a God of love, but there are things that makes Him angry.
What makes God angry? We all know - sin makes Him angry.
Romans 1:18(NIV) 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness."
When a person is so overtaken by his wickedness and then suppress or prevent the truth from being revealed, he is invoking upon himself the wrath of God.
And because God is a holy God, His response is anger towards sin.
You see, anger is also a common human reaction to injustice and sin - we get angry when we are wronged, don't we?
For instance, when somebody wronged you or taken advantage of your kindness or generosity, you will get angry or infuriated.
"It's not fair! Why did he do that to me?"
There is the desire to get revenge and do everything possible to even up.
Hence, both humans and God express wrath but there is a vast difference between the wrath of God and the wrath of man.
God's wrath is always holy and justified while man's wrath is never holy and will always lead further to sin.
When we express our wrath, it is sinful because of this vengeful attitude and will open up to demonic influence which can be devastating to others and to ourselves.
That is why we must remember that God alone is able to avenge us because He is perfectly holy and just.
Therefore, a Christian who is influenced by the Holy Spirit is able to control his feelings of wrath and anger and is filled with joy and peace.
In the Old Testament, God's wrath was the divine response to human sin and disobedience particularly directed towards idolatry.
God really hates idol worship as we learned last week.
God does not want us to worship idols but to give our wholehearted worship and devotion to Him alone.
But many times, we forget that and we sinned against God.
That is why in the Old Testament, the prophets often warned Israel of a Day in the future when the wrath of God will be fully revealed.
Meantime, He wants His people to repent and turn away from their sin so that God's wrath will not fall upon them.
In fact, God's wrath can be appeased and can be fully satisfied.
How? Christ took upon Himself the wrath of God when He died in our place on the cross.
Because of His sacrificial death, God's wrath has been fully satisfied.
If you have been covered by the blood of Christ, the wrath of God will not fall upon you.
The Bible says in Romans 5:9(NIV) 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!"
His blood is powerful.
His blood can fully justify us.
His blood can appease the wrath of God.