Updated: Jul 6, 2021
God's Anger. God can be provoked to anger. God hates evil (Proverbs 8:13). God hates dishonest scales (Proverbs 20:10). God hates haughty eyes, a lying tongue, murderers, schemers, false witnesses, and those who stir up dissensions (Proverbs 6:16-19). We understand in these situations that God's anger is stirred when His honor or glory is violated or when people are oppressed, especially those who are too weak or unable to defend themselves.
A better understanding of God's anger is "holy anger." We must know that His anger is nothing like our anger. Exodus 33 gives a healthy understanding of God's anger. Exodus 32 gives the account of the people forming and worshiping the golden calf. God is rightly angry, but notice this about His anger. 1) God keeps His word. Even though the people are unfaithful, God promises to take them into the land He promised. 2) God's anger is put on simmer. God's anger is often withheld. We see throughout Scripture and even our own experiences, that God is truly patient and long suffering. In these verses the people deserve to be destroyed, yet God withholds the full experience of His anger. 3) God's words are an invitation to respond. In verses 12-17 Moses does not run for cover, as we often do when human anger is on full display. But rather, we see Moses draw near to God. God invites Moses, and us, into a conversation.
We sin against God. We rightly deserve His anger. Yet, God continues to have our best interest in mind and seeks our good. It is an example for us to follow. Our anger has our own desires and good as its focus, but anger that reflects God's glory is focused on the good of the other person and invites them into deeper relationship with us. It is patient, faithful, and loving as it imitates God's anger.