Per Google the definition for “fierce” is having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness, (of a feeling, emotion, or action) showing a heartfelt and powerful intensity, or (of the weather or temperature) powerful and destructive in extent or intensity. The words from which it is derived meant “untamed”.
In chapter 33 Isaiah used the word “fierce” about warriors the people would not have wanted to see coming, warriors that terrorize hearts. Saying they would no longer see a fierce people was a good thing. We sense the power, the threat of destruction.
God’s anger is described as fierce in Jeremiah 27. God is angered when we separate from Him. That fierce anger is not desirable but to be feared, to be a cause for need of salvation.
Today, however, the love of Jesus is called fierce in popular song “Fierce” by Jesus Culture, in a positive way. If God’s anger is fierce, does that mean the love that was able to satisfy that anger and be the cause of our protection is equally fierce? Outside the fort there remains a fierce battle, but accepting the savior Jesus means our debt is paid. Inside the fort we are protected, and we see the opposite: gentle and mild. His burden on us is light.
If love means seeking another’s highest good, heartfelt and powerful intensity fits. The intense aggressiveness with which God seeks us when we stray fits. God will never be tamed by mankind, as His ways are above our ways, so even “untamed” fits. Allowing us to experience an evil world, so that we will be purified, as gold is in the fire, for eternity, seems fierce.
We, as small humans in a wild world where evil is real, fear fierce opposition. Where the battle is fiercest we require appropriate protection to survive. When the sun is hot at a New Jersey beach it’s great, but when it’s 120°F plus fierce in the Arizona desert it commands the hockey form of respect — aka fear. The fact remains in this life we don’t come face to face with God as the song implies — we aren’t strong enough for that. We must never forget how small we are, lest we think we can survive on our own. One line in the song does compare God’s love to a hurricane. Anyone who’s been in danger in a strong hurricane knows the meaning of untamable, of not being the one that sets the rules, of not being strong enough and needing salvation.
There may be a reason it is God’s wrath and not his love that is called fierce in the Bible. Fierce is meant to inspire seeking weapons of protection. God’s love calls to us, attracts us.