God in the Hands of Angry Sinners

Jonathon Edwards published a message in 1741 called, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It is a powerful message that we would likely not see preached today, but one that we need to listen to more than ever. It speaks to the reality of hell and instills the godly fear we should have in our churches. Search for it and read it.

There is not safety in numbers when you are on the wide road to hell. “Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14 GNT).

Edwards was later fired from his church where he first preached that sermon. Sinners don’t like being exposed, and Edwards was more devoted to God than to the wealthy and powerful in his church. We need more pastors who fear God more than man.

Sometimes it is in the rejection of men where we show ourselves right with God. Jesus taught, “If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you” (John 15:19).

Edwards was faced with the smallpox pandemic in his day. In 1758 he was required to take a vaccination for this disease, and he died from the very thing meant to save him. We should all consider this as our world rushes to solve the pandemic of our day. Though Edwards’ life was cut short, God used his life to shape the faith of many.

Your legacy when people look back is built upon what you do today. “The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.” (Proverbs 20:7).

The title in this message reverses Edwards words, with the false idea that somehow sinners could hold God accountable in their hands. In our day, many churches are filled with self-centered spectators devoted to themselves and only entertained by the weekly show of a worldly religion. And the moment their lives are disrupted, they question a God who would turn His back on them, when in fact they have turned their back on Him. They try to grab hold of God and force His hand, questioning Him in all He is doing.

Circumstances do not define who we are, they reveal who we are. “…you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith…though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:6-7).

People get angry at God because of their circumstances. They blame Him for everything bad that is happening around them instead of looking to Him to help them through it. They’re shaking their fists at the Almighty, and God looks down from His throne and He does not tremble at their voice.

You can always ask God a question, but you should never question His character. “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me” (Job 38:1-3).

Edwards wrote in his sermon, “What are we, that we should think to stand before him, at whose rebuke the earth trembles, and before whom the rocks are thrown down?” Friend, God breathes out stars that are a thousand times bigger than the little runt star we call the Sun, and you’re going to shake your fist at Him? We need to learn to tremble at the voice of God.

The higher faith is not appearing to look godly before man, but in simply kneeling down before a mighty God. “…But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2).

It’s no wonder people in our day become so angry with God. The Almighty is peddled as a blessing machine that is more concerned with our temporary pleasure than our eternal souls. But I can assure you it is our eternal souls that Jesus died for, and God gave no promise of an easy life here on earth. Sometimes it is in the trials we despise where God blesses us the most.

The joy may come in the morning, but it is going to be a long night. Never think the life of a saint is easy, but never doubt that the Lord loves you perfectly. “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Child of God, make no mistake about it, we all get angry at God. Even if we are right with Him, we sometimes can become so distraught and lash out at the very One who can save us. We need to know how to process that anger, and the way we do that is we humbly come before Him in prayer. Be honest with Him in how you feel. Your prayer is not worth a nickel if you won’t even be truthful with a holy God.

The question is not if you will survive the circumstance you are in, but will you trust Him through it. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

We need to realize God’s greatness and our inability to understand Him in all things. Trusting God should not depend on understanding God. God is good, no matter our circumstances. Stop being angry at God for your circumstances and reach out to Him to help you through them. Ask Him to show you what His glorious plan is in all that you are going through.

Suffering does not reflect how God feels towards you, but it will reveal how you feel towards Him. Job understood things right when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” (Job 13:15).

Blessings to you,

Paul Balius

All Scripture is in red and uses the NKJV (New King James Version) translation unless otherwise noted.

4 thoughts on “God in the Hands of Angry Sinners

  1. How can we , I be angry with God who has been ever so Faithful while we , I have been so unfaithful. All of my Pain & Suffering has been by my own doing. He has never left me nor forsaken me.

    1. We have such a merciful heavenly Father. The more we understand our own failures, the greater we realize the enormity of His love for us. Mercy is the outcome of His love and we are the ones forever blessed by Him.

  2. Thanks for this Paul!
    You’ve echoed perfectly something Pastor Tony Evans said in the aftermath of the death of his wife; “I’ve learnt to ask questions but not question God.” I pray for strength to keep in the forefront of my mind the everlasting love of God even when the horizon is foggy and my life is threatened.

    God bless,

    1. Thank you, Dammy! I find it is easy to write about a condition if you have lived a condition. That’s why it is easy for me to talk about so many failures. I have shaken my fist at God, and yet He loved me. I realized a greater love when I saw His great mercy. Blessings to you, I have been enjoying your writing, you have such a gift! Paul

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