"He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever."
I grew up in a house where there may as well have been a verse over the mantel warning the opposite of verse 9: "Here we will always chide, and we will keep our anger forever." I do not know what generation it began in, but the currency in our household was having "hand." And the prerogative of the person who had hand was the grudge. The one-day grudge was the most fortunate. More typically doled out was the two- or three- or four-day grudge. The implacable silent treatment. It did not so much come to a stop finally as sputter out from an empty gas tank.
But God is not like the women in my family tree. He does not always chide, or delight to keep stoking his anger. And his anger is moved by repentance rather than enflamed by it. The anger of man is cruel (Proverbs 27:4) and lords it over its debtor. It is a tool of manipulation in the hand of the one who wields it. But God's heart is such that he is unwilling that any should perish but that all should escape the wrath to come (2 Peter 3:9).
For many years I took up the worthless and destructive strategies handed down to me from my forefathers, the same strategies that did me so much harm. Such is the insanity of sin. But as the Apostle says, "you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers" (1 Peter 1:18). He tells us not to let the sun go down on our anger, and he models what he promises, with mercies that are new every morning.
King Manasseh was arguably the most wicked king in Israel's long and unillustrious line of monarchs. He rebuilt altars to gods that had been torn down by better kings. He was into astrology. He erected images to pagan deities. He filled Jerusalem's streets with innocent blood. He ignored the prophets. "Manasseh led [Israel] astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel" (2 Kings 21:9). And then when the king of Assyria finally dragged him away with hooks and chains, he repented---and God forgave him.
To read "Verse 10," click here.
To hear commentaries by Andrée Seu, click here.