By Drew Zuverink
"If anyone causes one of these little children - those who believe in me - to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."
I think if people were honest, most would admit that they struggle with the idea of God's wrath. In the minds of plenty of Americans, God's wrath takes away from his goodness - they view it as a negative character trait. In this short devotional I would like to argue the opposite; that God's wrath adds to his goodness.
Jesus loves people fiercely. Churches make that claim every Sunday, but in Matthew 18 we get to look inside the heart of God and what do we see? Jesus' love for his little children overflows into fierce protective passion! He straight up threatens anyone who would try to lead one of God's children away from him. This is a great thing!
Imagine with me, a father who's grocery shopping with his two little boys. As they're going through the isles, the father notices a man who is acting very strange and following at a distance. As they continue to shop, the father notices that the strange man is still following them and he's paying an awful lot of attention to the two little boys. Suddenly it dawns on the father, "I've seen this man before! He's wanted for kidnapping!" What would be a good and a loving response for the father to have? Would, "Touch my boys and I'll kill you," be an appropriate response? Absolutely it would. In a similar way, Jesus' threat in Matthew 18 is a beautiful example of his active and passionate care for his children.
God is a ferocious God, there is no way around it. He is on a rescue mission to save sinners from the destructive powers of sin, and he is passionately opposed to anyone who would stand in his way.
Friends, don't you love this about God? Don't God's intense feelings make you want to worship him? He really wants people to come to him, and when they do he feels intense joy! In Luke 15 Jesus says that every time a sinner repents and is reconciled to God, there is rejoicing in heaven. God cares a lot about his rescue mission, and when it is successful it brings him intense joy.
We need to see this side of God very clearly. He is not impersonal, he is not indifferent, and he most certainly does not lack feelings. He get's way more excited when a sinner comes to repentance than we do! And he is far more angry at the people, the sins, and the dark forces that take people away from him, than we are - and that makes him good.
So do you believe that Jesus loves you enough to threaten anyone or anything that would seek to separate you from him? Because he does and he has. We are God's children, and he is extremely protective of us. Don't ever allow the devil to convince you that God loves you, but only a little. That's a flat out lie from the pit of hell! I promise you that if you are one of God's children, he loves you far more than you could ever imagine.