God’s Way in Man’s Wrath
‘The wrath of man shall praise thee’ Psalm 76:10.
An ungodly world is filled with wrath against Christ and His church. ‘The heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing; the kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His anointed’ (Psalm 2:1, 2). Such wrath is invigorated by the power of Satan in and over them. The devil is full of rage against the church of Christ and vents it by using wicked men to persecute and oppress her.
Man’s corrupt nature is fertile soil in which the devil’s poisonous weeds of envy, revenge and pride easily take root. His malicious intent powerfully drives and directs the natural enmity of the human heart against God and His cause. The lusts of a sinful heart willingly do his bidding. Yet, the wrath of man is bounded by the power of God. The Psalmist declares: ‘surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain’ (Psalm 76:10). It is certain then that no matter in what form it is displayed, it will turn to the praise and glory of God even though it was otherwise intended. He can turn the wrath of man to the praise of His own sovereign power by frustrating the designs of the wrath of clay. We read that ‘He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong’ (Job 5:12, 13). Even the mouths of His enemies praise Him when they acknowledge that He is at work in opposing them. When Pharaoh’s horsemen pursued Israel into the midst of the Red Sea, the Lord took off their chariot wheels and the Egyptians were forced to praise the God of Israel when they said ‘Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians’ (Exodus 14:25).
The wrath of man that would attempt to destroy the people of God is under the management and control of a wise providence. The Lord will advance His own interest even when man seeks to threaten and dishonour it. This is a day when the wicked walk on every side and the vilest progress to positions of power and authority. They employ their prominent positions to suppress the voice of truth and righteousness. Remember, ‘Who art thou, that shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and the son of man that shall be as grass; and forgettest the Lord thy maker’ (Isaiah 51:12). It is better, then, to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man, for He has the devil and men under His command. We are called to trust Him as David did when he said in the day of the wrath of man: ‘Because of his [the heathen’s] strength will I wait upon thee: for thou art my defence’ (Psalm 59:9). We can be encouraged. God always so orders matters as to receive a tribute of praise out of the wrath of man.
Rev Leslie Curran.