About 2 weeks ago, Holy Spirit started stirring my heart to think on some of the intensely radical prayers and announcements prophets of the Old Testament were enabled to pray and proclaim as the people displeased God and disobeyed His tenets. There was the likes of Elijah who enabledly prayed that it won’t rain in the land for 3 years, Jeremiah who proclaimed Jerusalem’s 70 year desolation and Ezekiel who prophesied Jerusalem’s siege and famine.
The intensely radical prayers and prophesies to the regular person who wasn’t (isn’t) filled with God’s spirit would definitely have come off as insensitive or inhumane. Because they would essentially mean that lands had to be parched, emptied out, barren and conquered or overruled… that people had to be rendered slaves in foreign lands and suffer harsh labour. How they came off notwithstanding, their consequences were the reality for the people who faced the tune of the prayers and prophecies when they eventually were answered and manifested.
In hindsight, we see in scripture that the aftermath of each of these intensely radical prayers and proclamation always ended with the people eventually acknowledging their wrong or folly, crying out to in repentance, turning from their wicked ways and God hearing and healing their land.
So I’ve been asking Holy Spirit to reveal what kind of intensely radical prayers we should be praying in this age of reckless abandonment of God and heightened continued disobedience of His tenets; where His truth is being exchanged for lies, people are prideful and lovers of self, slaves to their idols and basically gone completely awry.
“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” — Romans 1:25 NLT
“For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God.” — 2 Timothy 3:2-4 NLT
“He burns part of the tree to roast his meat and to keep himself warm. He says, “Ah, that fire feels good.” Then he takes what’s left and makes his god: a carved idol! He falls down in front of it, worshiping and praying to it. “Rescue me!” he says. “You are my god!”
The poor, deluded fool feeds on ashes. He trusts something that can’t help him at all. Yet he cannot bring himself to ask, “Is this idol that I’m holding in my hand a lie?” — Isaiah 44:16-17, 20 NLT
Then I came upon these verses as I was studying and meditating:
“… for why should we risk bringing God’s anger against the realm of the king and his sons?”
“Our God’s hand of protection is on all who worship him, but his fierce anger rages against those who abandon him.” — Ezra 7:23b; 8:22b NLT
From these 2 verses and tons of other scripture, we get a sense that God’s rage is dreaded by king, priest, prophet, man and all things created for His glory. The king says causing God’s rage is risky. The priest says abandoning God causes His rage. It’s a no-brainer to fear God’s anger. “But could it be that there’s something to consider good about God’s anger?”, I asked, as I continued meditating and listening out for answers and truths only Holy Spirit gives.
Here’s where I’m currently at from what He’s been showing me. I believe God’s anger, though dreadful to whomever is faced with it, purifies in its end game. Because it rages, rains, burns, whirls, separates, defies gravity and every other law of nature and creation; consuming what’s impure and leaving behind whatever stands His purification process. God’s rage leaves behind the refined… the purified… the remnant. We see that with the people of Noah’s time, with the Israelites and their being captured post entering the promise land and forgetting God, and in the warnings the Word tells us about Christ coming to judge both living and dead. I believe God’s rage or anger is essentially God’s love which will always chase after, be available to us in Christ Jesus and correct us in discipline.
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.” — Psalms 23:6a NLT
“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.” — Proverbs 3:11-12 NIV
So knowing full well that we serve a God who never passes on a chance to discipline, rescue and redeem (purify) His beloved people from their folly, captivity and sin… and by any means necessary — of which the means He uses are rarely ever means that have been witnessed prior —; knowing He called out an enslaved people (His Chosen) from the land of their oppressors to a land He showed them; knowing He’d allow these same disobedient people be conquered and captured in wars to be enslaved, sifted, scattered about and returned; knowing He sent His own Son to die as the ultimate sacrifice in behalf of everyone who believes in Him to give us eternal life; it’s important to note also the part where when it comes to rescue and purifying tactics, there’s no neglecting safe and favourable or seemingly harsh measures with God.
“Has any other god dared to take a nation for himself out of another nation by means of trials, miraculous signs, wonders, war, a strong hand, a powerful arm, and terrifying acts? Yet that is what the Lord your God did for you in Egypt, right before your eyes. — Deuteronomy 4:34 NLT
While we might marvel in the wonders of His measures that are favourable to us, in our human reasoning, we fail to realise that God works through the favourable as well as harsh. So we register harsh measures like wars and terrifying acts as unfair or painful to bear. We do this because we feel entitled about having only good things happen to us. Forgetting that more important than having all things work together for the good of Love’s loves who are called according to His purpose; is for His glory to be seen in all the earth — by enslaved, called out, oppressor and defeated alike, in the good and in the bad, — even if it means having His rage make an appearance.
In response to the kinds of prayers we ought to be praying, I thought asking that He allow our folly, disobedience and sin get to a point of maturity so scripture can be fulfilled might be the way to go. I kept wondering if the radicality of a raging God might just be what we need. For His rage to rain upon the earth…on king, priest, prophet, mankind and all things created for His glory. So that perhaps through a great display of His power, He might rescue us for us to declare He indeed is the only God we ought to serve and for glory and honour to be brought to His name.
But after having conversations with a sibling in Christ and ultimately after yielding my initial thoughts to Holy Spirit, I’m now corrected by the countenance of Abraham, Moses, David… and Jesus Christ in their requests to God about the people they were (are) charged to rescue and help. Rooted in all of them is compassion — empathy, consideration, tender heartedness, love. They’d always hold God to His mercy and Word about His slowness to anger, reminding Him that the human condition is really one of folly… of not knowing — the consequences and ripple effects on mankind of — what we do.
“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” — Psalms 103:8-14 NLT
So now, for the age we’re in, my fervent, earnest, prayer along with the prophets, disciples, apostles of old and Jesus Christ is that though God’s rage may fall, His bottomless compassion will always be His rage’s landing pad. That He will remain true to His character — slow to anger and full of compassion — while His Spirit rebukes and convicts us of our folly to bring us into repentance as Christ does the work of transforming us to His image till He is fully formed in us. I ask that His Spirit enables all believers to fully carry out this commission He has given us to proclaim Christ’s Gospel and pray always for His compassion to never fail. Through Christ. Amen!
“for tremendous power is released through the passionate, heartfelt prayer of a godly believer! Elijah was a man with human frailties, just like all of us, but he prayed and received supernatural answers. He actually shut the heavens over the land so there would be no rain for three and a half years!” — James 5:16b-17 TPT
Scripture for Further Reading
1 Kings 17 & 18
Isaiah 42:8 NLT
2 Timothy 4:1-5 NLT