According to the termite guy, there is only one colony of those nasty things that exists in my town, but it was centered right under my house. When he heard my address, he started making pessimistic noises. I hate that, when some repair guy takes his hat off, rubs his forehead and says, “Oh man…. Oh man…”
I looked under the porch of my house one day, shone a light in under there, and discovered that termites were tearing my house down and eating it! I asked them nicely to knock it off, but they ignored me. I sprayed them with water, and then cans of nasty aerosol stuff I had sitting around. It made sitting on the porch pretty unpleasant, but it didn’t faze those termites a bit. They didn’t even notice. They just kept on working in an organized way, with whole work teams (tiny little hard hats and lunch boxes…), harvesting my home!
Once I knew they were down there, it seemed like, no matter what I was doing, I could hear them, chomping and chewing, destroying the place. That house wasn’t the nicest one in the neighborhood, but I was pretty attached to it and all. It didn’t take long before I’d had enough. It may have seemed unreasonable to the termites, but eventually they experienced my wrath. I called in the termite guy and he knew what to do. He had a special suit, some big drills and special squirtem stuff. He wasn’t fooling around.
God’s anger is partly about trying to keep us safe (See: Why Does God Seem so Angry?). But there is another side to God’s wrath, the part where He zips up His hazmat suit, adjusts His goggles and becomes the “Termite Guy.” When God cannot get us to stop wrecking His garden, destroying His home, so to speak, eventually He puts a stop to it. He has been doing this in measured ways since the beginning – always with warnings, so folks have a chance to turn around. But eventually, He will clean house for good. You have to understand that final day is coming; it may seem unreasonable, but it’s not pretend. Jesus warned His disciples that God’s wrath would be terrifying (See: Matthew 24). But He offered a way out, for anyone who would believe in Him.
God made up a story to try to explain His wrath and the “why” of it. It’s found in the 5th chapter of Isaiah. Read the whole thing if you can. I’ll spend more than one post on it. But start with this: Listen to God as He pours out His heart…
The Song of the Vineyard
I will sing for the one I love
a song about his vineyard:
My loved one had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside.
He dug it up and cleared it of stones
and planted it with the choicest vines.
He built a watchtower in it
and cut out a winepress as well.
Then he looked for a crop of good grapes,
but it yielded only bad fruit.
“Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and men of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard.
What more could have been done for my vineyard
than I have done for it?
When I looked for good grapes,
why did it yield only bad?
Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it.”
The vineyard of the Lord Almighty
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah
are the garden of his delight.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
Isaiah 5:1-7 (NIV)