3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
“…God is said to be “slow to anger.” The statement reveals the fact that God may prolong the time that He begins His judgment. One can be sure however that He will ultimately carry out His judgment.” – Key Word Study Bible.
Joel 2:13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
II Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Rom. 11:22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
God not only has the kind of power we see when He unleashes His judgment and wrath, but greater is the mighty power we always don’t as readily see; that of His restraint.
In Kabbalah it is said that God has two attributes that keep each other in check, balances each other out. On the one hand you have Gevurah, His Severity that is driven by complete and utter Holiness and if left alone nothing would be left for all we see has been tainted with sin. On the other hand, you have God’s Chesed, His Loving-Kindness that if left alone every evil act would be over looked and everyone would be looked upon with pity and mercy. Both are dangerous and ridiculous extremes, so the fulcrum being Holiness and God’s Gevurah and Chesed sit opposite one another like scales and attempt to stay in continual balance.
But when people cause the scale to drop on the side of Gevurah, “He administers justice swiftly, like a storm wind or a swift morning cloud.” – Ibn Ezra
This verse hints to us that ADONAI will use nature to carry out His sentence of judgment. Not only that, but can one stop a tornado or hurricane? No. Likewise there is nothing anyone can do to stop judgment when it comes. Now as we seen in the book of Jonah, judgment can be delayed by repentance, but once the line has been crossed and judgment is unleashed, repentance will not work, for it will be due to duress and not sincere repentance. Oh, yes, everyone was pounding on the door of the Ark willing to repent when the rains fell, but that was only because the people wanted to save their own necks and not because they were willing to turn from their sinfully wicked ways.
I am well aware how people, even in religious people are sometimes reluctant to point to a normal disaster and say that it was God’s judgment. However I at least think if nothing else that such an event may heavily point to this being the wrath of God. Is it no coincidence that New Orleans, a wicked city which indulges unrestrained in the flesh annually be dealt a blow at the hand of Hurricane Katrina? Not just their carnality alone, but this two was the exact same time the U.S. sided with the Palestinians and forces Israel to expel their own from the region of Gush Katif. The Palestinians even made Israel exhume their dead and take them with them. It may come as a shock to know that New Orleans is approximately the same size as Gush Katif and that the flood resulting from Katrina was so saturating and powerful that cemeteries lost hold of their dead and coffins were seen floating away!
Deuteronomy 27-28 speak of how ADONAI will use nature to punish those who rebel against Him as well as other nations armies to be the scourge of judgment.
4 He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. 5 The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.
These verses back up what I said in verse 3. Rashi comments that, “These verses are metaphorical; God destroys mighty nations and lays waste populated areas.”
Recall the plagues of Egypt which on any given year, if one really studies them out, events with the exception of the death of the firstborn, occurred on a natural, manageably smaller scale and God simply turned up the intensity of these annual events to make them plagues. The miracle doesn’t necessarily lie in the event, but the timing of the event.
Regarding verse four, just as God dried up the Red Sea for the immediate purpose of deliverance and escape and the ultimate purpose of conquering Canaan so that there is a clear path made for God’s wrath upon a pagan nation that has gone too far.
Psalm 106:9 He rebuked the Red sea also, and it was dried up: so he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness.
Isa. 50:2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst.
Regarding verse five:
Ps. 68:8 The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.
Judg. 5:5 The mountains melted from before the LORD, even that Sinai from before the LORD God of
Israel. Ps. 97:5 The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.
Mic. 1:4 And the mountains shall be molten under him, and the valleys shall be cleft, as wax before the fire, and as the waters that are poured down a steep place.
II Pet. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Often God’s wrath and judgment is said to be hot. The flood of Noah; the Rabbis and Sages say the waters were hot because of their hot sinful lust. Could it be, seeing as the earth was broken up to release flood waters, that hot magma was released too so as to create those hot waters that has been speculated?
The world was first cleansed with hot water and in the future purging, Kefa (Peter) says will be a baptism of fire.
II Pet 3:10-13 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
Does not the Scripture say that our God is a consuming fire?
Deut. 4:24 For the LORD thy God [is] a consuming fire, [even] a jealous God.
Heb. 12:29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.
Might we then say His wrath and judgment is also?
As far as verse six goes; even in paganism, their gods displeasure is symbolic, anthropomorphized and made manifest in earthquakes and volcanoes.