God of wrath – or Daddy?



Psalm 2:7 I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you. 8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” 10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, with trembling 12 kiss his feet, or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled. Happy are all who take refuge in him.”

What really grabbed me today was v.11-12. Just a few days ago I suggested “fear of the Lord” meant something more like “respect” than “dread” of God – not unlike one’s relationship with a parent. This psalm clearly does not conform to that idea. God is presented here as one whose wrath is “quickly kindled”.

Of course, when Jesus was asked by his disciples to teach them to pray in Matthew 6 he instructed them to address God as “Abba” which means something like “daddy”. Jesus represents a completely different kind of relationship to God the Father than Psalm 2. Honestly, it messes with me a bit. Is it possible both postures are correct when they seem diametrically opposed?

Heavenly Father, I pray for clarity on this question. Help me to better understand your nature and how I am to approach you with both fear and affection. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

One thought on “God of wrath – or Daddy?

  1. Josh

    The masoretic translation says:

    יא עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהוָה בְּיִרְאָה; וְגִילוּ, בִּרְעָדָה. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
    יב נַשְּׁקוּ-בָר, פֶּן-יֶאֱנַף וְתֹאבְדוּ דֶרֶךְ – כִּי-יִבְעַר כִּמְעַט אַפּוֹ:
    אשְׁרֵי, כָּל-חוֹסֵי בוֹ. 12 Honor thy father in the purity, lest he be angry, and thou perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled. {N}
    Happy are all those who take refuge in Him. {P}

    “Honestly, it messes with me a bit. Is it possible both postures are correct when they seem diametrically opposed?”

    G-d exists outside time and space so is aware of everything simultaneously. As a father and adult I often no things that my daughter can’t understand. To her telling her to wear her jacket is mean because it’s hot in the house right now. What she doesn’t know is how cold it is outside. Likewise G-d knows things we don’t and can’t always explain to the children how he knows we’ll freeze to death outside. When the carrot no longer works the parent brings out the stick not because they’re mean but because they care. If they didn’t then G-d would let us freeze to death.

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