by Rachel Mowers, CVC Youth Intern
This post is a continuation of Justice & Wrath (Part 1).
Zechariah also clearly communicates God’s wrath. When the people refused to show the justice God commanded, “. . . great anger came from the LORD of Hosts” (Zechariah7:12 HCSB). One author identifies God’s wrath expressed in three ways in the text of Zechariah 7:12-14: “in God’s withdrawal … in exile for the people … and in the beautiful land becoming a waste and desolation without inhabitant” (Smith 227).
With the current push toward social justice causes, it is becoming popular to announce God as a God of justice. However, people are still uncomfortable with thinking about the aspect of God’s justice that might indicate judgment of their own disobedience. In the immediate context of this passage, the people perpetually disobeyed God’s command of practicing justice, and while God is a God of grace and patience, He can only withhold His wrath for so long before it must be satisfied.
God made a covenant with these people to bless their obedience and curse their rebellion. Asserting that, “the result of the forefathers’ rejection of the command to change … was the terrible experience of God’s wrath,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary recalls the Deuteronomic covenant and relates God’s curse of scattering and desolation back to that promise (Expositor’s Bible Commentary 780). In the popularity of talking about social justice, it would be gravely unwise to ignore God’s consistent, righteous wrath on disobedience and sin.
Individuals in the Church Age will be held responsible for their obedience and fulfillment of God’s commands, and while Christ’s blood covers sin and places believers in right standing with God, rewards are still based on the attitudes and actions lived out in that right standing. This limited section in Zechariah is one of many Old Testament passages that illustrate God’s character, and it is not a stretch to relate such passages to the Church. The Old and New Testaments are two completely different chapters in God’s record of history. But God Himself is the same. His character is the same. His relation to people is the same.
Rather than ignoring the Old Testament, New Testament believers would be wise to look into these books of history and writings and prophecy for insight into the character of their immutable God.