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Week Four | Blessed By Being Ready for the Return of Jesus

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Blessed Online Biblical Study
Reading Assignment – Chapters 7 & 8
Listen to the Audio version | Reading Time: 4 minutes

I’ve never enjoyed being afraid. Scary movies, haunted houses, and creepy Halloween costumes have never been, and I assure you, will never be something I look forward to. My peers in college quickly learned that I do not think scary practical jokes are funny. Amusement parks are not very amusing to me, at all. I understand that many people enjoy the thrill of an adrenaline rush, however, I try to avoid it as much as possible. I don’t even like seeing other people getting scared, even if they laugh afterward.

Even with all of that being said, ironically I enjoy watching detective and crime drama TV shows. Yeah, I often cover my eyes for the introduction as I feel like it’s the scariest part of the whole show.

Even though I’m not a fan of being afraid, I’ve figured out that I like watching clever and brave investigating teams strategize, decode, and uncover clues, and ultimately track down the bad guys. 

In these shows, it’s encouraging and rewarding seeing the good guys win and the bad guys face the consequences. Admittedly, I don’t even get sad or scared when a bad guy gets shot or has some other kind of brutal punishment.

We Can Trust God’s Wrath

I used to read several parts of the Bible in a similar way to how I watch the first few minutes of crime drama shows. I would skim through the scary parts when the wrath of God was very frightening. I’m still not a fan of reading or hearing the more frightening stories in the Bible when God severely punishes people, especially when it seems, to me, to be for insignificant reasons.

For example, I can somewhat understand why God would rain down His wrath on the terrible sinful cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. But I’ve always been kind of terrified of Genesis 19:26 when Lot’s wife looks back and is turned into a pillar of salt. Yikes! To me, this seems like an extreme punishment for simply turning around. 

Nancy Guthrie explains my thought process on, page 170, of her book Blessed,

“Perhaps we think the descriptions of his wrath are too harsh, too black and white, or too vindictive, or that some who experience his wrath don’t really deserve it. We’d rather ignore it, soften it, perhaps even scrub it.”

Nancy Guthrie, Blessed, pg. 170

For this reason, I’ve struggled to read through the book of Revelation, as it’s extremely hard to read and accept verses like Revelation 16:1, NIV, 

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, “Go, pour out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the earth.”’
Revelation 16:1, NIV

The idea of God’s wrath being poured out on earth is horrifying. Thankfully, God included reassurance for us just a few verses later.

“And I heard the altar respond: ‘Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.’”
Revelation 16:7, NIV

What a reassurance that God doesn’t make mistakes or punish someone unjustly. His wrath is never just haphazardly poured out. We don’t have to wonder or be afraid that we, or anyone else, will experience God’s wrath who doesn’t deserve it. We can trust God’s wrath.

Being Ready for the Return of Jesus

It’s interesting that the more I watch detective and crime shows, I’m not as afraid. The structure of the show provides a vantage point that reveals the weakness of the bad guys and highlights the superior strengths and skills of the good guys. 

On page 172, of Blessed, Nancy Guthrie explains how Revelation 15 shows us a similar type of storyline.

“The Lord’s people standing on the far side of the persecution of the beast of the sea, singing a song that celebrates the Lord’s triumph over their enemies because they recognize that this is what has provided their deliverance. They’re not embarrassed by the wrath of God poured out on their persecutors; they revel in it. They see the wisdom, goodness, and covenant love of God in it. From their vantage point they can see that the pouring out of wrath on those who persecuted them is a glorious demonstration of how great, amazing, just true, and altogether righteous God is.”

Nancy Guthrie, Blessed, pg. 172

The more I read and study the context of Scripture, the more confident I become with the knowledge that as long as we are safe and secure in Jesus we don’t need to fear God’s wrath. We can celebrate that His wrath is preparing the world for Jesus’ return. One day we will see the ultimate battle between the good guys and the bad guys. 

Spoiler alert: Our good God wins!

1. God’s wrath is not something to take lightly.
2. God doesn’t make mistakes or punish someone unjustly.
3. As long as we are safe and secure in Jesus we don’t need to fear God’s wrath.

How does knowing you can trust God to never make a mistake when He pours out his wrath affect the way you read and interpret the Bible?

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Blessed | Nancy Guthrie

A 6-week study that will provide a different perspective on the book of Revelation. Learn how the book is less about when Jesus will return, but more about who we are to be, what we are to do, and what we can expect to endure as we wait for Jesus to return to establish his kingdom in the new creation.

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Blessed by Nancy Guthrie - 2023 Winter Online Biblical Study | Intentionalfilling.com

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