“O LORD, rebuke me not in Your wrath, and chasten me not in Your burning anger. For Your arrows have sunk deep into me, and Your hand has pressed down upon me.” (Psalm 38:1-2)
“Rebuke … wrath … burning anger … arrows … You hand has pressed down upon me.” If these words sound strange to many readers of Bible studies, devotionals and sermons today, it is because they are conspicuously absent. Unless you read the actual text of scripture, you may never encounter these concepts. And yet they are an important part of the revelation of God’s nature, and His dealings with us.
Many messages and devotionals today refer only to the love and grace of God, and the blessing and comfort He gives. There is no mention of the conviction of sin; nothing of the wrath or discipline of God. But these things, which many in our generation are entirely overlooking, are an intrinsic part of His nature. God IS love, as I John 4:8 tells us. And He does give His people blessing and comfort, as Psalms 23, 103, and many others attest.
But that is not ALL God is. He is also a holy God (Isaiah 6:3) and one who convicts and judges sin (Exodus 34:7 etc.). To describe someone and omit an entire part of His character is to dangerously misrepresent Him, and is akin to missing the mark entirely. Psalm 38 tells us here that:
— God DOES “rebuke” us.
— He DOES have “wrath” and “burning anger.”
— He DOES send His arrows deep into us, and press His hand down upon us.
The God of the Bible is more than a deified, “cuddly teddy bear.” He’s more akin to a powerful, yet loving lion. And if we would really know Him, we’d best learn of, and respect Him, for the entirety of who He is. By reading His word in its entirety, we can “fill in the gaps,” and will soon discover the God “they” didn’t warn you about!