Tenth Sunday after Pentecost                                                                            Rev Mark Duer

Jeremiah 23:16-29/ “The Anger of the Lord”                                                         August 18, 2019

                                                                                                                                               Jeremiah 23:20 20The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

It seems like a strange way to start a sermon when we have a text like this—The anger of the Lord. 

When we think about the attributes of God, we think about all kinds of things like love and mercy, and kindness, and goodness. We don’t dwell on the anger of God.

A Seminary professor once started a lecture like this: Is God who He is because of what he does? Or does God do what He does because of who he is? In good Lutheran fashion, the answer is yes.

In the Small Catechism we have a section that talks about the attributes of God. The things that God is and what He does. Sometimes they are hard to distinguish from one another. God is eternal, without beginning, and without end.

God is immutable, that means He doesn’t change. God is almighty, and all powerful—He is omnipotent. God is omniscient—He is all-knowing. God is omnipresent—present everywhere. God is holy, God is just, which means he is fair, and impartial.

He is faithful, unlike us. God keeps his promises! God is good, and kind, and desires good things for us. God is full of pity. He is merciful. God is gracious, showing us underserved kindness, He is forgiving, God is Love.

Nowhere on the list, does it talk about the anger of God—or does it? We passed over one of the attributes of God rather quickly. God is holy. When we think about the holiness of God, we often times fail to think about the ramifications of the fact the God is holy, and we are not. God is sinless, without sin. The holiness of God also means that he hates sin.

Sin kindles God’s righteous anger. We’ve all had righteous anger? You know what I mean? When your children or grandchildren disobey you, and they break the rules, your angry! 

When you’re inpatient and offended by someone else, you might be hurt or even mad.

So often our righteous anger doesn’t stay righteous very long. Maybe just a few moments, before that righteous anger overflows into sin. But not so with God. God is righteously angry at our sin. In the text for today, He is righteously angry when His Word is polluted. When his Word is distorted. When his Word is mocked or ignored.

When his Word is twisted to make it fit into our sin. It happens all the time. We know what God’s Word says, and we ignore the parts of God’s Word that we don’t like. We are happy to point out other people’s sin, and other people’s problems with the Word of God, and yet when that turns back on us—then we are angry and not righteously so.

We sit back and we see, and we hear the Word of God being mocked and ridiculed in the world, and sometimes even in the church. Is our righteous anger kindled? Are we mad when God’s Word is drug through the mud or distorted? Rarely! Because it’s so much easier to keep silent, or even to keep that righteous anger to ourselves.

Brothers and sisters in Christ. In recent years, people have defended things like ungodly marriage practices, which isn’t marriage at all. We have seen the Boy Scouts which have always been a bastion and stalwart of morality cave under pressure to allow deviant lifestyles to creep in.

Today, we have institutions that perform more abortions than ever before, and if that’s not bad enough they also dismember little babies and sell their body parts. Where is the outcry?

God sees these things; He knows these things. He is rightfully angry at these things, including us and our silence. What does God’s Word say for us today? It says beware of false prophets. Prophets who say peace, peace, when there is no peace. People who act like a loving God, could not possibly be angry at anything.

Today, the love of God is twisted and distorted. God’s Law, and his anger are not preached.

Part of the problem is that we in the church—and far too many pulpits, have failed to take seriously the wrath of God.

Most churches don’t preach the wrath of God, it doesn’t work well with their evangelism programs, and so God’s Word has been ignored and distorted, and abandoned. 

The anger of the Lord is real. Verse 20:  The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intents of his heart. In the latter days you will understand it clearly.

We can ignore the righteous anger of God, we can pretend it doesn’t exist, but it will be executed—thus sayeth the Lord. It will accomplish the intents of the heart.

When we sing the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy, we sing that God is holy. This hymn clearly proclaims that fact, but it leaves us right there. God is Holy and we are not. This is a problem! A holy God cannot stand unholiness of any kind. We cannot stand before a holy God without being vaporized.

The prophet Isaiah brings the holiness of God and the unholiness of people together. Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Jeremiah says, in the ladder days, this anger of God—how it will be executed and accomplished, will be made clear.

We are living right now in the ladder days. All of God’s righteous anger that should be poured out on you and me, has been poured out on the spotless Lamb of God—Jesus Christ.

He has taken the hit we deserve—all of God’s righteous anger down to the dregs, has been taken in by Jesus Christ. Luther called it the Great exchange—His righteousness for all our sin!

For all the times when you cherry picked God’s Word—only those parts that you liked and distorted God’s Word to make it fit the way you wanted.

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

                                                                                                                                                       For all of those times when you have failed to stand up and defend God’s Word, when you have seen his Word being mocked and distorted. For all of these sins and more Jesus Christ has paid the price. Jesus Christ has suffered and died on Calvary’s Cross for you and me!

Repent! For the kingdom of God is near.    Jesus knows the anger of God. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Because of our sin!

The dead body of Jesus was placed in a new tomb, but it didn’t stay there. Three days later, Jesus who was dead is alive! Never to die again! Jesus is victorious over sin, death, and the grave. Jesus could stand back in righteous anger and say—Just try to live up to my example and be holy.

Instead, Jesus robes us with his holiness and righteousness in the waters of holy baptism. He feeds us with his holy and righteous Word, he gives us to eat and drink His crucified and resurrected body and blood. Spiritual food for the journey ahead in this evil world.

He gives us the strength, not only to believe his Word, but to live each and every day in faith in his Word.

To die with our passions and lusts and perversions! To live in him and for him. To die with our silence and to live confessing His Word in any situation.

In the ladder days Paul says: 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.

Not so with us. May God bless you with ears, and hearts, and lives that cling to God’s Word. That demand God’s Word! That trust God’s Word will accomplish everything that he promises.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,

May you continue steadfast in the faith by the powerful Word of God, which holds us in the nail-scarred hands of our Savior who loved us and gave himself for us.

When difficult times come, and God’s Word is hard to believe, we cry out to God. Give me the strength to hear, and believe, and confess your Word in every situation.

The anger of God is real, but we don’t have to be afraid of it! We can give thanks that God’s anger was poured out on Jesus—on our behalf.

May God fill us with his Word, and a desire to hear, believe, to live, and to confess his strong Word. Today, tomorrow, and forever. Amen.

Sermon Archive 

Forth Sunday after the Trinity - June 24, 2018 

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - July 1, 2018 

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost - July 15, 2018 

Eighth Sunday after Pentecost - July 22, 2018 

Ninth Sunday after Trinity - July 29, 2018

10th Sunday after Trinity - August 5, 2018

4th Sunday in Lent - August 12, 2018

12th Sunday after Trinity - August 19, 2018

7th Sunday after Pentecost - August 26, 2018

16th Sunday after Pentecost - September 16, 2018

19th Sunday after Pentecost / LWML Sunday - October 7, 2018

18th Sunday after Pentecost - September 30, 2018

18th Sunday after Pentecost - October 14, 2018

21st Sunday after Pentecost - October 21, 2018

24th Sunday after Pentecost - November 11, 2018

First Sunday of Advent - December 2, 2018

Second Sunday of Advent - December 9, 2018

Mid-Week Advent - December, 5, 2018

Mid-Week Advent - December 12, 2018

Third Sunday in Advent - December 16, 2018

Epiphany of Our Lord - January 6, 2019

Second Sunday After the Epiphany - January 20, 2019

Third Sunday After the Epiphany - January 27, 2019

Fourth Sunday After the Epiphany - February 3, 2019

Fifth Sunday After the Epiphany - February 10, 2019

Sixth Sunday After the Epiphany - February 17, 2019

Seventh Sunday After the Epiphany

Transfiguration of our Lord

First Sunday in Lent - March 10, 2019

Second Sunday in Lent - March 17, 2019

Third Sunday in Lent - March 24, 2019

Fourth Sunday in Lent - March 31, 2019

Fifth Sunday in Lent - April 7, 2019

Palm Sunday- April 14, 2019

Easter Sunday- April 21, 2019

Second Sunday of Easter- April 28, 2019

Third Sunday of Easter - May 5, 2019

Pentecost Sunday - June 9, 2019

Holy Trinity - June 16, 2019

Third Sunday after Pentecost - June 23, 2019

Fifth Sunday after Pentecost - July 14, 2019

Ninth Sunday after Pentecost - July 21, 2019

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost- August 11, 2019

Tenth Sunday after Pentecost - August 18, 2019