Provoking God

Bill Brinkworth

Many believe God to be a little, old, grey-haired man that never gets mad, and constantly smiles. Little do they know of the true God described in His Word, the Bible. Yes, God is a God of love, but there are other sides of the Creator. There are things that He hates, and there are things that anger Him. Usually, sin provokes God to anger. Here are several sins that offend and make God angry:

Lack of faith in God, especially when He has shown Himself able to deliver His people in the past. God had Moses send out 12 men to spy out the land He wanted them to occupy. When ten of the returning spies had a discouraging, non-trusting-God-to-overcome-all-obstacles report, God was provoked to anger. He was angered because the people to whom He had proved himself mighty, so often in the past, worried and fretted that they would be destroyed. God was angered because of their weak, tottering faith in Him.
“And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?“ Numbers 14:11

Idolatry. Making something more important than God is idolatry; be it idols, worship of another person or deity, or even giving a thing in one’s life more preeminence than God. The lack of worship of the Creator angers the Almighty.
When thou shalt beget children, and children's children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger:” Deuteronomy 4:25 Also Deu. 9:18, I Kings 14:9
“The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” Jeremiah 7:18 Also Jer. 25:6, 44:3

False beliefs and pagan practices. Not only does idolatry provoke God to anger, but beliefs and practices related to it do also. Here in Second Kings, casting spells, speaking to the dead, curses, and witchcraft angered God.
“And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” II Kings 21:6 Also II Kings 17:17
“And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” II Chronicles 33:6

Vanity. Making things on this earth more important than God and His purpose for our lives is spending our time unwisely. This vanity provokes God to anger.
“For he walked in all the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin, to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger with their vanities.” I Kings 16:26


Throughout the Bible other accounts verify there is a point where God tolerates sin no more, and His wrath is poured out on the trespassers. His anger was provoked against the sin of Noah’s day and He brought on the flood that changed the face of the world. The sin of four cities (Deuteronomy 29:23), including Sodom and Gomorrah, angered God so much that He destroyed those towns; so their sin would not spread. The sins of Israel when they doubted, questioned, and took their unbelief out on their leader, Moses, angered God. Many times the Lord had to chastise, them because of their sin.

God has not changed (Hebrews 13:8). What angered God in Old Testament times, still can provoke God to anger today. He is very patient and loving with us. He gives us many “second, third, etc.” chances to repent and turn from our wicked sin. One day, however, His toleration of sin will cease. The examples of the Bible prove that no one can escape an angry God. Certainly, those of today in sin also will not escape the wrath of a mighty God provoked to anger.  

This lesson was featured in The Bible View #188.

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