When God Shows Up

Isaiah 54:8

In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.

Ephesians 2:8

By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

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God’s wrath is described in the Bible as a cup of bitter gall to be “drained to the dregs” (cf. Isaiah 51:17, 22; Jeremiah 25:15; Revelation 14:10; 16:19). We often think of God’s active punishment of evil in the fires of hell as the essence of wrath. While that certainly must be part of our understanding of God’s wrath, there is much more to God’s wrath than burning fires and poison-filled cups.

God’s self-described moment of wrath is expressed through Isaiah as a time when he hid his face from his people. That is a fate far worse than we might imagine. In fact God’s wrath is significantly expressed in the absence of his presence, protection, and love, as well as a smoldering pot of caustic bile.

Isaiah gives us a glimpse of that which is more fully expressed in Romans 1 & 2: the absence of God’s corrective, protective, provisional, and loving presence. Given over to our sinful desires, we would self-destruct in a self-inflicted blaze of doom.

Thankfully we have not been left up to our own devices. In an act of selfless love and compassion God revealed himself to us through Jesus Christ. God has not withdrawn himself from us, he has redeemed us and saved us by his grace. By faith in him we have been saved from God’s wrath and judgment. Thank God for his indescribable gift!

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