Just in the past four days we have had two storms that knocked the power out for a total of seven hours, with two plus inches falling in an hour’s time. In fact, this last time we had an inch and a half in thirty minutes flat. The water ran down from the top of the hill in a river around the house and down to the creek just past the boundary fence. The wind blew the rain in vertical sheets, leaving standing water an inch deep on the covered carport, and the screened porch floor wet to the wall of the house. The wind blew in gusts that twisted fifteen foot long pine limbs off the trees—green limbs, not rotten ones. Smaller limbs flew by as we watched, almost as thick as the rainwater. The lightning was loud and close and almost constant. When I stepped inside and saw the power was out I was not really surprised. This was one angry storm.
And suddenly I thought, “This was the kind of rain Noah lived through.” God was angry. He would not have sent a gentle patter of raindrops on that gopher wood roof. His wrath would have been obvious in the gusty winds tearing roofs off houses and branches off trees. He would have vented his anger in the boom of thunder rolling over the hills, hills that slowly and inevitably disappeared under the waves. That last storm we had scared me just a little; I bet the one Noah endured for forty days was terrifying.
And we need to be terrified too. An angry God is not the God we want to face on judgment day. Do not let the world, and sometimes even the brethren, blur your view of an irate God who cannot countenance sin. You need that picture to keep you straight sometimes, and so do I. It’s too easy to think, “This is no big deal; God won’t mind this once; God is a God of mercy,” and forget the God of wrath and vengeance. Don’t let anyone turn “fear” into nothing more than respect. You can love someone and fear them too. Anyone who had a godly father knows that. Don’t let them lie to you and steal your soul by telling you otherwise.
By the end of summer I am ready for a calm fall. I want sunny days and gentle breezes. I am sure that’s what we want from God too, but just as those storms do good for this land—replenishing the water table and keeping the tropical plants green—remembering the stormy wrath of God can do your soul good too. Don’t forget it.
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: I will make a stormy wind break out in my wrath, and there shall be a deluge of rain in my anger, and great hailstones in wrath to make a full end, Ezek 13:13.
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience, Eph 5:3-6.