READ: PSALM 21.
“You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them.” (Ps. 21:9)
The flame of Nebuchadnezzar’s fiery furnace, heated seven times more than it was usually heated, killed the men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. How much hotter does the flame of God’s wrath burn against the enemies of his people and of his beloved Son? For those who trust in the Lord, it is consoling to know that those who resist and harass the church will one day be silenced forever.
God’s wrath in judgment is often likened to a blazing fire that devours everything in its path (Ps. 18:18; 50:3; 83:14; 97:3). Malachi warns, “the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch” (Mal. 4:1). Like the three Hebrew children, our only hope for escaping the blazing oven of God’s wrath is to secure the protection of another.
On the cross, Jesus was crushed and consumed under the weight of God’s wrath in our place. For those who believe, God’s wrath is propitiated. The angel of death stays his hand. Safe in Christ, our love is perfected, “so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment,” and “perfect love casts out fear” (1 Jn. 4:17-18). But this love is reverent.
Have we so lost our sense of the awesome wrath of God that we no longer revere his judgment? “Let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). We join David in declaring, “Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power” (Ps. 21:13).
Glory be to the Father, for his awesome power. Glory be to the Son, who delivers us from his wrath. Glory be to the Spirit, who renews our hearts in love so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment.