Sermons from the Book of Revelation tend to make me nervous. I squirm in my pew when I hear the words, “Turn in your Bible to the Book of Revelation.” This is usually because the speaker is about to “impress” with their eschatological knowledge and expertise. However, such trepidation at Revelation is unfounded, and such eschatological dot-connecting superfluous when you consider the first five words of the entire book.
In 1741, one of the most famous sermons in American history was published, that being Jonathan Edwards’s sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” For better or for worse, though, this sermon remains one of the most famous and widely recognized sermons of all time. Most of the time, though, it is misremembered and misunderstood. The only colloquial knowledge many have is the title and the fact that God is angry with us. It begs the question, then, is that really who God is?
We all have different relationships with our fathers. Some hate their fathers; others have fathers they adore. Some are absent; others are lovingly present. There’s beauty and brokenness in every home, especially when it comes to dads. Unfortunately, we’ve ascribed much of our own interactions and feelings and emotions we have for our dads to our Heavenly Father. But God is a much better, truer father.
The colloquial understanding of God is most often a caricature of who he really is. The “man upstairs” is seen as a vindictive old man with a long white beard who’s waiting with bated breath for you to mess up so he can punish you. There’s a vernacular sense that God is angry with us. But, as Scripture makes very clear, nothing could be further from the truth.
Fundamental to the life of any disciple is a knowledge of the Word of God. Sadly, there are scores of disciples who have a limited knowledge and understanding of the Bible. This usually stems from a truncated view of Scripture. There’s a grave need, then, in knowing what exactly the Bible has to say and whose story it tells.