These five words recorded thousands of years ago in Job 36:18 carry a solemn warning of the wrath of God to sinners of all ages. It is not that God is prone to bad temper or that He lacks the self-control required to restrain His emotions. Thankfully, the opposite is true. Only One so great, yet so loving could ever forbear for so long in the face of such provocation. But even “His great love” (Eph 3:4) cannot overlook forever the sins of the human race of which you and I are a part.
The Reality of Wrath
This is not some mythical, pessimistic, stand-on-a-soapbox message of doomsday that realists and intellectuals can afford to ignore. This is present, holy rage that is righteously burning within the personage of the Godhead. Suppose that every one of us routinely discarded his trash wherever we happened to be when we were finished with it. Imagine how polluted our planet would become and how the public outcry would intensify against such a crime! Yet every day the timeless laws of the all–powerful, holy God of heaven and earth are defied and broken without a thought and the immensity of the ensuing wrath against the world is immeasurable. This wrath is building in intensity against every individual alive as sin after sin is recorded in the unerring record of each person’s crimes. God is Holy and has made it absolutely clear that no defiling thing will enter His dwelling place. (See Rev 21:27) He also says in Malachi 3:6, “I change not.” Unlike human anger which invariably cools with time, sinners, who ignored His warnings and His offer of mercy, will endure the eternal wrath of God – with no end.
The Results of Wrath
Next we find “… lest He take thee away with His stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.” The pronouns used warn of a private meeting with God – He and thee (you). The verse points to a patience that is wearied by the continual offense, and finally, the sinner is taken away. We are warned of the power of His stroke which no person could hope to withstand or resist.
The Response in Light of Wrath
“Because” and “Beware” imply a precaution taken or a preparation made in appropriate response to the wrath of God. In the helplessness of our destitution as sinners, all that we can do is to respond to the provision of our merciful God in the unspeakable gift of His Son to be our Savior. The simple language of Romans reveals the profound truth of the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” While He did endure “the stroke” of God’s wrath on the behalf of sinners who deserved it, even such “a great ransom” cannot deliver the sinner who, having ignored the warning, begins to experience in hell the full heat of “the wrath of God.” “Because there is wrath, beware.”