Ponderings: When G-d Gets Angry

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One morning, not too long ago, my family and I were headed to our weekly fellowship. In order to get there we drive 50 minutes, partly on country roads, and partly on the interstate. This one particular morning, my youngest son, who is still in a carseat with five point harness, decided to slip his shoulders out of the strap as we rumbled down the interstate. I turned around and saw what he’d done, and yelled angrily at him to put his arms back inside the straps. In that moment, I realized that this was the kind of anger G-d has which we read about in the Scriptures.

When we read about G-d getting angry (the story we read about the words He spoke to Moses in Exodus 32 about the sin of the golden calf comes to mind), we can have a tendency to project human emotion onto Hashem. But Hashem is not a man, and He doesn’t have “human emotions” like we do. He is love and everything He does and is comes from that love.

Out of a deep love for my son did I yell at him that morning. I saw that he was being disobedient, and I knew that the consequences of not being properly strapped into his seat, given the right conditions, would result in severe injury or even death. I, as an adult, with more knowledge and understanding, seeing the bigger picture, knew the danger. It was my love for him that compelled me to “rattle” and “scare” him into doing the right thing.

Sometimes, when we are going down the wrong way, Hashem will “rattle” us to get our attention, because He knows what lies at the end of that road. It is out of His deep, abiding, unconditional love that He speaks “angrily” to us.

So, in the future, when you read about G-d being angry at His children, I hope you will see Him in a new light. I hope you will see that He loved the people of Israel and He loves us so much that He will do whatever it takes to get our attention and get us back on the right path. Not only this, but I hope you will seek to mirror this kind of “anger”, and not one based out of ego or the desire to control another person. Let’s strive to only be angry from a place of deep love; in this way we will be emulating and more rightly representing G-d’s character to our family, our friends, and the world.

Shalom and blessings,