“Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:4-5, NIV).
A question I ask myself when I read a Bible verse or passage is: “What do these verses tell me about what God is like?” While no verses in the Bible contain a complete description of God, many verses and statements in the Bible reveal character traits of God.
This jubilant psalm of praise reveals an interesting attribute of God’s personality:
God’s anger is momentary but His mercy is eternal!
What if it was the other way around–God’s anger is forever and His mercy is momentary? The reason I ask is because that’s often what we think. We think God is angry with the human race and the world He created and occasionally He gets over it and blesses us and then quickly reverts to His anger mode.
We think God’s blessing is temporary and His anger is impending shortly beyond the blessing.
The way this plays out in our personal theology is that we perceive God as sitting up in in heaven angrily looking down on us because we don’t behave right. Then every once in a while when we are good God has mercy on us and blesses us.
So, we believe that our purpose is to be good in order to avoid God’s anger and to receive God’s blessing.
But the psalmist knew this isn’t the case. This verse wisely reveals that God is eternally merciful and occasionally His mercy turns to anger. When God displays anger, it is an act of love.
God’s anger is didactic, instructional. It’s for the purpose of teaching us a lesson, for building godly character for eternity and for accomplishing His divine plans and purposes.
And, God’s anger is restorative! His momentary anger restores us to a position of favor with God. His momentary anger reinstates us into His mercy; it turns us back toward His everlasting grace.
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?… God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Hebrews 7-11, NIV)