The Deep Well with Erin Davis Podcast

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How to Be Free from God's Anger

Erin Davis: Portia, I don’t think this will surprise you, but I have a tendency when I walk into a room or we’re in a meeting together at work or I show up at a family gathering, I just assume that everybody’s mad at me or I’m going to make somebody mad before it’s all said and done. Do you ever feel that way?

Portia Collins: Oh, many times, my friend. I think, to be completely transparent, the area that I experience this the most is probably my marriage. So sometimes I’m afraid to ask Mikhail if I need this—Mikhail’s my husband, by the way—if I need something. I don’t want to annoy him or upset him or . . .

Erin: Because you think he might already be annoyed.

Portia: Yes. Or mad. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is not a mad guy, but I know that he has a lot of responsibility, he has a stressful job, and so I’m always setting up that preemptive guard, because I don’t want to make it worse.

Erin: Oh, yes. In our early years of marriage, I must have asked Jason, “Are you mad at me?” fifty times a day. Finally he was like, “Baby, if I’m mad at you, I will tell you. Otherwise, I need you to just come from a different assumption,” because my assumption was he was mad.

Portia: That makes this young wife feel so good, because I ask Mikhail that a lot. “Are you mad? Are you mad at me?” He’s like, “No.” 

Plus, my husband has a very stoic demeanor, and I’m very—as you can see and probably hear—animated and my emotions are thick. So sometimes I have the expectation that he matches me. It makes me feel like he’s mad at me or he doesn’t love me.

Erin: We’re alike in that way.

You know, it has one impact on our marriages, it has a different impact on our friendships or our work relationships. I don’t want to minimize it, because I think, at a deeper level, if we’re operating from this idea that people are always mad at us, we are probably also operating from the idea that God is always mad at us.

Portia: Oh, yes. That’s exactly where it comes from. I know that the way that I internalize this and operate with my husband, that’s not the foundation. My problem is I often feel that way with God. “Is God mad at me? I dropped the ball on that one. Oh, He’s . . .”

Erin: I don’t know that I worry that He’s mad; I do worry that He’s disappointed.

Let me tell you a story about sophomore English class. I was assigned to read the sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Did you ever read that?

Portia: I did not, and I don’t think I probably would have if someone had given it to me. It’s scary!

Erin: It was scary! You know, we were just trying to get exposed to lots of different kinds of American literature in that class, and it is a well-known piece of literature. It’s also a terrifying sermon about the fact that God is angry and that it is only God that keeps all of us from falling into hell. I agree. I deserve hell. I don’t debate that at all. I am a sinner.

Portia: Same.

Erin: But this picture of me being held in the hands—just the title—being held in the hands of an angry God, and that at any moment He could release me and drop me into hell . . .

Portia: It’s like, “Ahhh!”

Erin: Scary.

Portia: Very scary.

Erin: I was a new Christian, so I didn’t yet have a theology of hell at all, mostly just fear. I knew that I had given my life to Jesus, but I was still very much in that time where I worried that it didn’t stick, or I was still going to be punished, or that God would change His mind about me.

I don’t want to oversell it as crazy formative in my life, but I do remember being scared by that sermon.

Portia: You know, for me it’s been a journey to really understanding and resting in the sovereignty of God. Though I never read the book, I experienced many scary moments where I’d be like, “Okay, I had a bad day, and I am not a good Christian, and I am going to bust hell wide open!”

Erin: Did you rededicate your life to the Lord a lot?

Portia: Not in church, but I would . . 

Erin: In your heart?

Portia: Yes. I would be sitting there praying and be like, “Okay, Lord, I don’t want to get up, because I don’t want anybody looking at me, but please, Jesus, let it stick this time!”

Erin: I remember my youth pastor, right about the time that I was studying this sermon in high school, said, “If anybody wants to talk to me about following Jesus, hang around after youth group.” I hung around after youth group, and he was like, “Erin, we’ve had this conversation so many times!” I was just so worried.

The phrase that, “you can know that you know that you know you’re saved,” used to haunt me a little bit—used to haunt me a lot. I’d be like, “I don’t know—I know, but I don’t know that I know that I know.” Although, now I do. I know that I know that I know.

Portia: Yes, me too.

Welcome to The Deep Well with Erin Davis! I’m Portia Collins.

Erin is currently in a series called “In a Little While.” Today she’s going to be addressing the question, “Is God mad at me?” Let’s listen; here’s Erin.

Erin: I don’t remember much about sophomore English class, but I do remember when we got the assignment to read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It’s an old sermon written by Jonathan Edwards.

Now, what you need to know is that I was a brand-new follower of Jesus, and I hadn’t heard very many sermons at all. I certainly had never heard anybody preach in a style that could be described as “fire and brimstone.”

On the page for our homework for that sermon, there was a drawing. It was in orange and black, and it showed silhouettes of people falling into hell. I was terrified.

As we were talking it through, my English teacher told me that when Jonathan Edwards preached that sermon, women fainted. It was scary! I could see why women fainted when I actually jumped into the reading assignment. Here’s a snippet of what I read:

Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth—yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease—than He is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell.

Yikes! I wanted to go back to reading Charlotte’s Web.

God used that sermon to ignite the Great Awakening, and I’m not questioning its merit, but to a fifteen-year-old new follower of Jesus who was just learning my way around the Bible, just the words “angry God” were scary to me. I wondered if what Jonathan Edwards said was true of me, that God was as angry with me as a new Christian as He was with people who were already in hell.

I don’t think there was ever a time when I didn’t believe in God. I’ve never really questioned His existence, but I have had questions, lots of questions, about His character.

We all have different personalities. We can take zillions of personality assessments that will tell us where we are on some chart and what our personality is related to an animal or a plant. We’re all different from each other in that way, and it’s part of my personality—for better or worse—that I just assume everyone is mad at me.

I know that sounds silly. When I say it out loud, I feel silly about it, but it is true. My baseline assumption is that I have done or I’m going to do something to frustrate you. So my baseline assumption about God, certainly as a new follower of Jesus and a teenager, and for many, many years afterwards, was that He was always mad at me, too.

We’re working through a series in The Deep Well on God and time, and the way we’re doing that is that we’re looking for the phrase “in a little while” in our Bibles. In this episode, we’re going to find it twice in the book of Isaiah. It’s in Isaiah 10:25 and Isaiah 29:17–24. Let me read us those passages.

Isaiah 10:25: 

For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction.

Let me flip to Isaiah 29:17–21, and then we’ll connect these dots.

Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest? In that day, the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffers cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off, who by a word make a man out to be an offender, and lay a snare for him who reproves in the gate, and with an empty plea turn aside from him who is in the right.

Again, let’s do a little background check. If you listened to episode one in this series, we talked about Haggai. He was an Israelite and a prophet; he returned to Jerusalem from captivity. God used Haggai to call His people to rebuild the temple. He promised, “I’m going to refill that temple with my glory . . . in a little while.”

Well, we have to rewind in our Bibles a little bit for this episode. Young listeners of The Deep Well, I love you. I am so glad you’re here. You really are the reason that The Deep Well exists. I want you to fall in love with your whole Bible.

For now, I need to tell you about a wonder of my childhood. We had a whole device dedicated to rewinding our VHS tapes. We rented our VCR and videos from the video store on the weekends, and we had to return those tapes rewound. But that wasn’t a problem because we had a VHS rewinder. You’d put the tape in, you’d press “Rewind,” and vrrr—it took about three minutes—bingo! Your tape was rewound. We didn’t have to hold down the “Rewind” button the whole time! We thought it was amazing.

So, vrrr—let’s rewind from Haggai to Isaiah. I’m glad we talked about Haggai first, because there are some connecting points. Isaiah was also an Israelite, and the first several chapters of the book of Isaiah’s message is that God’s people must repent of their idolatry, and that if they didn’t, they would be invaded and taken captive. That should ring some bells, because they did not repent, and midway through the book Jerusalem was under siege, and by the end of the book God’s people were in exile.

Now, the book of Isaiah is complex. I would never try to boil it down to a single podcast episode, and it has a lot of important themes in it. It prophesies about Jesus multiple places; you’ve probably heard the book of Isaiah read at Christmas. One of the themes is God’s judgment. God is holy, and God is just, and God has every right to judge and punish sin in our lives. We see that throughout the book of Isaiah. God’s people were in fact idol worshippers. They were in fact given opportunities to repent, and they did not. But God is also merciful. He is full of grace. Judgment and mercy go hand in hand with Him.

We see this in Isaiah 10:24–27. 

Therefore, thus says the LORD God of hosts: "O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. And the Lord of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”

Did you hear the phrase “in a little while”? It was right there in verse 25: “In a very little while my fury will come to an end.”

God spoke these words through the prophet Isaiah while He was calling His children to repentance. So even as He told them, “I am going to deal with your sin,” He also told them, “but I will not stay mad forever.”

Here’s a lesson about God that “in a little while” teaches us in the book of Isaiah: the timeline of God’s anger is very short; the timeline of God’s grace is very, very long.

Now, I’m a parent of four boys, and if you listen to The Deep Well, you already know that, because you won’t hear me teach very often without bringing up my sons: Eli, Noble, Judah, and Ezra. They are my delight. I love to talk about them. And they also provide lots of teaching illustrations.

When I read the words of the prophet Isaiah, what I hear there is parenting language. Let’s read verses 24 and 25 again. “Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts: ‘O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of Assyria when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. For in a very little while my fury will come to an end and my anger will be directed at their destruction.”

“Strike with the rod”—that’s a parenting phrase. The Israelites were, in a sense, about to get a spanking, and this one was going to sting. The Assyrians were a wicked and violent people, as were the Babylonians, who would eventually capture them. But God said, “Don’t be afraid of this punishment, not because it’s not going to hurt—it is—but because it’s only going to last for a little while.”

I hope my sons know that about me. I’ve never asked them, but I hope they know without a shadow of a doubt that I may need to spank them to teach them that disobedience has consequences, but I will never, ever keep spanking them. I hope that thought has never even occurred to them. It’s never happened! I hope they know, “This is going to hurt, but it’s only going to last for a little while.” 

There are times when I need to sit my boy down on the stairs so he can think about how he treated me or how he treated his brothers. But he knows when I sit him on the stairs, he already knows he’s not going to have to stay there very long.

God was giving His children confidence that He’s that kind of parent. Here in Isaiah 10, what we see to be true about how God parented the Israelites in this moment in history is still true for how God parents us.

Fast forward—vrrr—to Isaiah 29:17–24. The way we got there is that for chapter after chapter, Isaiah wrote about God’s wrath against the nations, against Israel, and some of it feels really scary. 

Listen to Isaiah 24:6. “Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.” 

You know what that sounds like to me? That sounds like that picture in my sophomore English textbook. When we get gut-level honest, we know we’ve earned it. Just like God’s people in Isaiah’s day, we chase after idols, and ours are American idols. Mine is comfort. I’m always comfort-seeking. I will prioritize comfort over almost anything else in my flesh. 

I don’t know what your idols are. Maybe it’s not comfort. I could list a bunch of possibilities of what it might be, but you don’t need me to, because you know what your idols are. If you are a follower of Jesus and you have the Holy Spirit living in you, He is always calling you to turn from vain idols, and why? Why is God always calling us away from our idols? Why didn’t the Israelites turn from their idols when they knew the result of failing to repent was going to be so horrific?

Well, we are broken people, and we live on a broken planet, and because of that we are always going to face a gravitational pull toward idols, until we’re with Jesus in glory. Because we are always going to face that gravitational pull, and because we can’t shed our sin nature, we can operate, even if we don’t know it, even if we’re not conscious of it, from the sense that God is always mad at us.

For me, I find it hard to worship a God who I think is always mad at me. I can cower, I can avoid. But worship Him, if He’s always mad at me? What about serving Him? I might do it begrudgingly because I don’t want Him to be more mad at me, but serving Him with a happy heart when I think He’s always mad at me—I can’t!

I go back to the analogy of my kids. That’s what families are; they are a way for us to understand the way that we relate to God. God relates to us and the way we relate to each other. I don’t want my children just to obey me because they think I’m always going to be mad at them or because they fear my anger, but because they love me, and they know I delight in them. That is an important heart shift that I get out of these passages in Isaiah.

When we feel like God is always mad at us, we need the “a little while” found in Isaiah 29. Let me read you Isaiah 29:17–20 again. “Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest? In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel. For the ruthless shall come to nothing and the scoffer cease, and all who watch to do evil shall be cut off.”

Hold that thought. Flip back to Isaiah 10 for just a moment. Listen to verses 33–34. 

Behold, the Lord GOD of hosts will lop the boughs with terrifying power; the great in height shall be hewn down, and the lofty will be brought low. He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe, and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One.

Isaiah 10 gives us a picture of the judgment of God. In Isaiah 29 He’s promising restoration. In His judgment, God destroyed the mighty trees of Lebanon through enemy invaders.

Now, something you should know about me is that my dream is to see the sequoias. I want to stand at the base of those trees, and I want to feel my insignificance! I love them so much. I have pictures of the sequoias on my desk. I have a T-shirt from Sequoia National Park, even though I’ve never been there. It is the one and only item on my bucket list. I cannot fathom an enemy army coming in and destroying Sequoia National Forest, but that’s what God let happen here in Lebanon.

Do you know how long it takes a giant sequoia to grow? I know, because I’m obsessed with them. It takes fifty years for a giant sequoia to grow one hundred feet. If I planted one in my backyard, I wouldn’t live to see it become a giant. Most of the trees in Sequoia National Park are more than 3,000 years old.

Here in Isaiah 29, God’s saying, “In a very little while, that place of destruction will become a fruitful field.” How can that be? These giant trees of Lebanon, which we see in other places in Scripture, had been destroyed. God is saying, “In a little while, there will be fruit there again.”

Also in Isaiah 29, we read that those who could not see or hear the Word of God—they were blinded, they were made deaf by their sin—and the promise here is that suddenly we’re going to get it. In a little while, God’s going to unstop our ears, He’s going to uncover our eyes.

This passage in Isaiah 29 promises fresh joy in the Lord, worship reignited. What’s going on? What does it all mean?

I think we could read the Bible in one of two ways. We could read it as an endless stream of God’s anger. There was judgment at the Garden. There was judgment at the Flood. There’s judgment here in the prophets. There’s judgment in the book of Revelation. That’s one view of time.

But the full view that Scripture gives us is one of all human history covered in God’s grace, where there are moments where God's righteous anger was justified, but it didn’t last long. Both in Isaiah 10 and in Isaiah 29, one word gets added to the phrase “in a little while.” Did you catch it? Go back and read it. See if you can find it. The word is “very.” The timeline of God’s anger is very short. The timeline of His grace is very, very long.

Listen to Psalm 30:4–5. 

Sing praises to the LORD, O you His saints, and give thanks to his holy name! For his anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

This tells us something that’s really important: God’s anger is short, for a little while, for His saints. For those of us who are in Christ, we can know that God’s anger will not last forever. For those who are not in Christ, His anger does last forever. For those of us who know God, who follow Jesus, this is what the psalmist says: “Sing praise to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name! For His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime.”

How long does God’s anger last? But for a moment. In other words, just for a little while. 

In contrast, what about His favor, what about His grace, what about His love, what about His mercy? They last for a lifetime. In fact, they last beyond our lifetimes. Heaven is a place where we will finally be free of sin and where we will no longer need God’s wrath to correct us. That is what time is moving us toward.

As you’re listening to this series, I hope you’re rethinking timelines. I hope you’re getting some new mental images for the way that time works according to God’s Word. Here’s one for you, a word picture of one long, neverending timeline of God’s grace. It has no beginning, it has no end; it just goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on. That really is the timeline of our lives! That really is what we see here in Isaiah, that even as God is promising judgment, and even as the judgment is being handed down, and even right after the judgment has been handed down and the land is destroyed, God is saying, “This is only going to last for a little while,” because the purpose of God’s judgment is not to squash us, but to call us back to Him.

But it’s true that on the timeline of our lives there are dashes where God is angered by our sin, and in His mercy, He does not permit us to stay in that sin. It doesn’t make me a good parent to let my boys disobey me. It’s not going to lead to their flourishing to let them behave any way they want to, because they have a sin nature, too. I hope that if they could make a timeline of their life with me, there would be one long timeline of my love and my grace and my mercy and my goodness to them, and there would be little dashes where I got angry and I needed to discipline them. 

God’s anger has a purpose, and the purpose of God’s anger is to redirect us toward that long line of His grace. But God is not mad at you all the time. Judgment has a limited time; just a dash. Grace extends without limit.

I was teaching at a woman’s conference once several years ago, and we were singing our hearts out. There was a woman playing the keyboard, and suddenly she stopped playing, and she said into her microphone, “God’s not mad at you.”

Hot tears that I didn’t know were there started to sting at the corners of my eyes, and they sting at the corners of my eyes now when I tell that story. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I felt. What I thought was, God might be mad at some of us. God might be mad at me. You have to remember that was my baseline, that God was always mad at me.

Several years later I was teaching at another women’s conference, and there was that same worship leader! I said, “Do you remember when we did that event together in Nashville?”

She said, “I do.” She said, “That was the strangest thing! I just felt this urge to say, “God’s not mad at you.” 

Those hot tears came back into the corners of my eyes, and I said, “I remember.”

She told me stories of how women at that conference came up to her and shared how much they needed to hear that. I wasn’t the only one with hot tears.

You know, if we see history as one long story of God’s anger, we live in fear. I can’t read the Bible and say that God will never be angry, but I can look at what’s happening here in Isaiah, and I can say with confidence, because of God’s Word, “He will not stay angry.” That’s what he says in Isaiah 10: “In a very little while my fury will come to an end.”

As followers of Jesus, are we sinners in the hands of an angry God? Maybe. For a moment. Are we sinners in the hands of a gracious God? Always, always, always.

Before we say goodbye in this episode, there’s one more passage of Scripture we need to read from the book of Isaiah. It comes from Isaiah 53:5–6: 

He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid upon him the iniquity of us all.

There’s a reason you can know with confidence that God’s not always mad at you, and it’s not because you don’t deserve it. This passage tells us we’re all like sheep, running in glad rebellion from the Lord. But because God the Father put onto Jesus the Son the punishment, the anger, the chastisement that we deserved, and His anger was satisfied; so that it’s true: His anger really does only last for a little while, but His mercy goes on forever and ever and ever and ever.

Portia: That’s Erin Davis, and she is sharing the most beautiful, wonderful message that any of us could ever hear: the gospel of Jesus Christ.

All too often, we forget that the Bible is saturated with gospel truths from the beginning to the end. What I love about one of Erin’s most recent studies, Seven Feasts: Finding Christ in the Sacred Celebrations of the Old Testament, is that—guess what? This study takes you right to the heart of the gospel. I encourage you to check it out. If you want to grab a copy, visit ReviveOurHearts.com/TheDeepWell. 

Erin Unscripted

Okay, it’s time for Erin Unscripted. Erin, I have a question—or maybe it’s a thought. How does the gospel help us to really see God in the true light of who He is, as opposed to a big ol’ mean, “He’s mad at me,” angry God.

Erin: Well, the gospel is the point where that changes. God doesn’t change. You can’t read the Bible and not think God is ever angry. He does get angry.

Portia: And rightfully about some things.

Erin: And rightfully so. So, the way to look at God’s character is not to say, “Oh, He’s always happy; I can’t do anything wrong. I’ve never made Him angry by my sin.” No, that’s not true. But what the gospel teaches us is that God’s wrath was satisfied in Christ. God’s not mad at me anymore because all of that anger was put on Christ. Christ took my punishment, including God’s anger, and it’s been satisfied.

So for me to continue to be like, “Are you mad at me, God? Are you mad at me, God? God’s mad at me! Are you mad at me, God?” Jesus took that on. I need to put those gospel lenses back on and say, “Yes, my sin is offensive to God. Yes, it does make Him angry. But His anger was satisfied by Christ’s sacrifice.”

Portia: Amen. I struggled tremendously with an assurance that God loved me. I had put this weight and this pressure on myself to be this and to . . . Basically, my idea of love was conditional. I felt like God only loved me if I was able to do this or if I was able to be this type of person. So it made me literally terrified—terrified of death, terrified of hell, terrified of God. Hearing the gospel over and over—we could never grow old of hearing the gospel, but hearing it over and over—is like a balm to my soul. It is the truth that I need to hear to help me rightly understand who God is and how, as you said, yes, our sin is offensive and anger is a just response to that; but we have a beautiful Savior who has taken on the wrath of God for our sake.

Erin: He’s not less angry at you or loves you more because you got better or because you’re doing better at x, y, z, or you stopped sinning at this—although He certainly calls us to stop sinning—but because who He is is to be merciful, and that’s displayed in the gospel.

Portia: Yes.

Erin: Sometimes I feel a little insecure as a Bible teacher because it does not matter what I’m teaching on, I’m going to point it to the gospel.

Portia: Same.

Erin: I just feel like I’m teaching the same lesson over and over, but I’m using a different passage. But that really is the lens through which I see Scripture, and it really is the lens that makes a difference in my life.

Portia: One thing that I hear people say often is they get tired of reading about the God of the Old Testament, the “angry God.”

Erin: Sodom and Gomorrah.

Portia: Yes. Honestly, I love all parts of Scripture, and I don’t see—at one point I did, but now I don’t see—the God of the Old Testament apart from the God of the New Testament, or separate. He’s the same God with the same emotions, it’s just where we are in the story, we kind of get to view things through a different lens. I hope that makes sense.

Erin: Right. Part of it, also, is, how do we respond to that word, “anger”? We just want to throw that whole emotion out; that’s a bad emotion, nobody should ever feel anger. Well, Scripture says in the New Testament, “Be angry and do not sin,” meaning anger in itself is not a sinful emotion.

Portia: Correct.

Erin: I’m sure you can think of some times, but there are times when anger is a right response. When we see an injustice, when we see somebody being abused, we should be angry. That is the kind of anger we’re seeing displayed.

Why do you think you were able to make the shift from—however many years or however long that was—of seeing a dichotomy, “These are two different Gods in two different testaments,” to now it feeling like one picture of one God. What happened?

Portia: I stopped viewing Scripture as disjointed pieces, and it really became one story of God’s faithfulness to sinful humans. As I began to look and I saw God’s response to sin, I saw why He responds this way: because of His holiness. It’s not because He’s just trying to be big ol’ mean God. I see why His mercy is His mercy: because of our inability to do anything to save ourselves. I began to see the wholeness or the fullness of who God is just by looking at the entire story of redemption.

Erin: Yes.

Portia: One of the messages that we see coming from many of the prophets of the Old Testament—they are hard, fire and brimstone, angry messages, but I think it’s so important for us to look at why, and what God is calling out in His people that’s wrong that’s causing or prompting this emotion of anger.

You know, there was injustice going on with widows and orphans . . .

Erin: And the poor.

Portia: And the poor, correct. Then we see the spiritual apathy and things like that. God’s response to these things is actually, when we really think about it, they’re the very things that we don’t like to see anybody.

Erin: Right! We live in this advocate culture. You’re supposed to have a cause and you’re supposed to advocate for it. I’m not knocking that necessarily, but there’s a part of us that really resonates with justice and advocating for those who can’t advocate for themselves. But resist God’s anger . . . God wasn’t just being mad to be mad.

Portia: Right. It was part of His justice.

When we see God being angry, what we really should understand is it’s not anger without cause or without validity.

Erin: Right!

Portia: God’s anger is really a part of His justice, and He calls us to the carpet on that, in areas where we have done wrongly, where we have not been merciful to our brother or our sister, where we have failed to care for the widow or the orphan.

Erin: Yes, we don’t ever see Him getting “hangry,” just mad at us because He needs some protein. We don’t ever see Him getting angry just to throw His weight around. His anger is directed toward our sin. We could interchange the word “justice” for “anger.”

Portia: Absolutely.

Erin: But we’d land at the same place, which is that His justice, His dealing with our sin, doesn’t last forever and ever. He dealt with it on the cross, so His mercy, His grace, is what is that long timeline keeps extending.

Portia: You talked about walking into a room and assuming that everybody is mad at you, not pleased with you. How does the gospel change your heart in that regard, or reshape your thinking?

Erin: Well, there’s a little phrase that I say to myself a lot. I don’t know if I thought it up or I read it somewhere, but it has become an important part of the way I operate in the world. It’s this: “Jesus, I will measure Your love by the cross and Your power by the resurrection.”

My feelings are really inconsequential. They’re neither good nor bad, or sometimes they’re good or sometimes bad. But I’m not going to use them to measure how Jesus feels about me anymore, because I can know He loves me because He went to the cross for me, and I can know He has the power to save me from my sin because He rose from the grave.

I’m not over-spiritualizing things, I think, to say that that also changes how I interact with people, because I am secure in Christ. I really am. Most of the time I even feel secure in Christ. So I can walk into a room and not have to worry about what other people may or may not think about me, and also know that everybody in that room needs the gospel. So if they are mad at me, that is something that we could work out or the Lord could work in our hearts about. Or it is something that we can let go of, because it has nothing to do with anything of real significance. So I do have a confidence in Christ that changes the way I relate to people.

Portia: So, Erin, tell me, what good stuff can we expect to hear on the next episode?

Erin: Well, Jesus actually said the phrase that we’ve been tracing, “in a little while,” and we’re going to find out what He meant.

The Deep Well is a production of Revive Our Hearts, calling women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Teacher

Erin Davis

Erin Davis

Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. She is the author of many books and Bible studies including: 7 Feasts, Connected, Beautiful Encounters, and the My Name Is Erin series. She serves on the ministry team of Revive Our Hearts. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

About the Host

Portia Collins

Portia Collins

Portia Collins is a Christian Bible teacher and writer/blogger who enjoys studying and teaching Scripture.  Portia is the founder of "She Shall Be Called" (SSBC), a women’s ministry centered on helping women understand and embrace true biblical womanhood through solid study of God's Word. To learn more about SSBC, visit www.sheshallbecalled.com.  Portia and her husband, Mikhail, have a daughter and currently live in the Mississippi Delta.