The God of Wrath… and Mercy
“‘I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I lay My vengeance upon them.’” (Ezekiel 25:17)
In the book of Ezekiel, God’s anger with sinful nations is profoundly shown. Multiple times, Ezekiel is charged with horrible messages, detailing how God’s wrath will be poured out on all peoples, from Israel to Egypt. At the end of these pronouncements, God has only one thing left to say: “Then they will know that I am the LORD.” At the end of their sinful lives, the wicked will finally look on God in His wrath, and they will confess—too late!—that He is the only true God.
This is a frightening image. We as Christians know God through His mercy and love, grateful for how He has saved us. But there are so many people in the world who will know Him only in His righteous vengeance. He is holy, and sin cannot stand before Him. Though He loves the world, He must punish those who reject Him. One day, they will reap the harvest of their sinful hearts, and God Himself must condemn them to death.
But there is hope! We who know that Jesus has died for the world and is ready to save all who call on Him must be diligent in spreading that news. Like God told Ezekiel, we are the watchmen of the world. We know that danger is coming, and it is our duty to warn as many people as we can. It doesn’t matter if they will listen or not; we’re still ordered to tell them.
If we’re honest, sharing the Gospel is an area that we have all struggled with. For myself, I know that I’m often so caught up in my own interests that I neglect to tell others what God has done for all of us. But people are literally dying all around us; every day brings them closer to meeting the God of wrath. We must do all we can to show them that He is also the God of mercy, the God Who is calling to them, holding out His hand to save them. We were all once in that very same position of death until someone showed us the truth of God’s grace. Not everyone has to know God by His wrath alone! If we are faithful in spreading His Word, there will be fewer people who perish. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)