In my reading for today, I read through Jeremiah 51-52. These two chapters are dark and difficult reads. In chapter 51, God predicts the eventual fall of Babylon. Though he chose to use Babylon as an instrument by which he punished Judah for their rebellion against him, God also chose to destroy the nation of Babylon for its evil.
Chapter 52 actually gives us the historical account of the fall of Judah and her going into the Babylonian captivity. This chapter gives us a view of the besieging of Jerusalem, of the deaths of many important officials, the imprisonment of the king, and the full destruction of Jerusalem including the temple and its artifacts. One can only imagine the horror of the fall of Jerusalem, especially from the point of view of the people of Judah.
As I ponder those two dark chapters in Jeremiah this morning, I have one major thought that continually comes back to my mind. God is just. He never promises a judgment that he does not really intend to carry out. The wrath of God is a holy wrath, and when it is finally poured out on a nation, it is a horrifying thing to behold. And, though we also focus greatly on the love of God in Christ, his wrath has not ceased to be a part of his character. His judgment has not come to an end. And understanding this aspect of the character of God is very important to our daily lives.
Now, you might be wondering just how it is that the wrath of God is something that we as Christians should consider. I would say that it is something worthy of note in two ways. First, God’s wrath reminds us of the punishment we deserve. We have sinned against him and earned his full fury. Yet God has been so kind to us, sparing us his wrath by punishing Jesus in our place.
On the other hand, God’s wrath should also call us to a greater passion in our evangelism. Though Christians have been spared the wrath of God because of their faith in Jesus Christ, the rest of the world is sitting under a sentence of doom from God. The wrath that he promises he will carry out. Hell is real. Those without God’s forgiveness are destined for hell. And we must go into the nations and share with them the good news of the offer of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. If hell is real, if God’s wrath is real, then our passion for taking the gospel to all peoples must be real too.