The Object of God's Anger
The following is a reflection on 1 Kings 16:7: “…because of all the evil that he did in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.”
My soul, do not be mistaken: as surely as “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Ps 103:8), so does He likewise hate sin, and it angers Him when one does what is evil in His sight.
When Jesus walked into that temple-turned-marketplace, He went and made a whip.
When God laid eyes upon the golden calf, He desired to destroy the people of Israel.
And so here we have 5 kings, and 5 times we hear that their actions provoke the Lord to anger (1 Ki 16:2, 7, 13, 26, 33), and 5 times we hear that they did what was evil (v.7, 19, 25 twice, 30). Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and Ahab alike all feed the Lord’s anger, living in unrighteousness and dwelling in evil, the tents of darkness.
Oh my soul, how easy it is to look upon these kings and think, “I am better than they. I did not, as Zimri, strike down my master, nor did I, as Ahab, erect an altar to Baal or make an Asherah or take in vile Jezebel as my wife.” But my soul, the issue goes deeper than that: the Lord hates sin! It matters not how much sin there is: whether you have killed a hundred innocent men or unfairly looked upon one man in anger, whether you have 700 wives and 300 concubines or have gazed upon one woman with lustful eyes… the Lord hates your sin. Do not be mistaken, the Lord loves you – and without a doubt the Lord is just and will judge sins according to the measure of their atrocity – but let not His love for you nor His heftier punishments on others more vile than you cause you to be comfortable in your sin, lethargic to its manifesting presence within you, fostering up a hard heart against the ways of the Lord.