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Holy Anger Against Unholy Prayers

Psalm 80:4

That God is angry when we break one of His commandments we understand. That He is angry with our prayers is another matter. Yes, if we pray for sinful things it is understandable that God is angry; but if we pray for salvation, will God be angry'?

Yes, even that can make God angry. For not only are our best works — and that includes our prayers —. polluted with sin, but so often in our prayers our method and motive are wrong. We can pray to be healed from our sicknesses, not so that we can serve God more fully, but to seek the things here below.

No wonder then that Asaph in Psalm 80:4 writes "O Lord of hosts, how long wilt Thou be angry against the prayers of Thy people?" Consider that Asaph writes about God's people in the ten tribes who no longer went to God's temple in Jerusalem to pray there, but went to the two places where Jeroboam set up golden calves. Therefore our versification reads:

    How long, O Lord, wilt Thou disdain our prayer?
    For Thou hast fed us with the bread of tears,
    And bitter sorrow Thou hast made us share;
    The nations round us mock with scornful jeers.

Remember that God is holy and cannot be happy with any sin, no matter in what form it comes. Adam only ate a forbidden piece of fruit; but God sent death! But understand that God does not hate His people whom He gave to Christ, and for whose sins His Son died. But He is angry with our sins and often keeps us in difficult situations in order to turn us away from these sins, and to bring us where His face shines and we enjoy His smile. The ten tribes had to be captured and mocked with scornful jeers so that God's people in those tribes might be turned again to Him Who dwells between the cherubim on the ark in the temple in Jerusalem.

And we too so often need afflictions to bring us back to the Lord of Hosts, so that we may be where His face shines upon us. We need chastisement and as our Great Shepherd He supplies it. He does this because He loves us and intends to turn us and save us.

Read: Psalm 119:65-80 
Psalter versification: #218:2
(Words and Music of the Psalter)

Meditations on the Heidelberg Catechism

Through the Bible in One Year
Read today:

Judges 6 
Luke 22:54-71Luke 23:1-12 
Psalm 95Psalm 96 
Proverbs 14:5-6 

Quote for Reflection:

… It seems to me that every person has his own sins that are particularly deadly to him and against which he must struggle. Frequently these weaknesses, because they are character weaknesses, are passed on to children. This is perhaps why the sins that in our children that make us the most angry are the sins that characterize us.                                                     

The only power to resist the evil in our natures is to be found in the cross. The cross is not only for forgiveness; it is also for holiness, because Christ died to merit a new life for us. And so we must go to the cross to obtain such strength as we need to fight successfully against the evils of our natures. We learn to pray, “Lord, create in me such a strong desire for thee that the desire for sin, always present in me, is overwhelmed by my desire for thee.” We long for greater sanctification.  -- Herman Hanko

Last modified on 21 April 2014

Additional Info

  • Date: 26-April