Judgement of God – Psalm 9:19-20

God’s Judgement Is Upon Us

19 Arise, Lord, do not let mortals triumph;
let the nations be judged in your presence.
20 Strike them with terror, Lord;
let the nations know they are only mortal.

Just Judgement

God is just, and He will not allow a nation to continue in iniquity without bringing judgement in a swift manner.  Throughout all time, God has judged nations and eventually destroyed them when they refused to repent.   No nation or kingdom has gone on forever without being judged by God.

In just a short period of time, less than two and a half centuries, the United States of America is being judged.  Since God is the one who judges, He first sends warnings to the nations to repent.  Jonah was sent to Nineveh.  The prophets were sent to Israel.  God has been faithful in giving the nations the opportunity to repent.  And when they do not, He begins to throw warning shots across their bows.

Total Terror

For the United States, there were two World Trade Center bombings.  The first failed, and the second succeeded.  The people in the US, after the second bombing, filled churches seeking God, for God had put terror into their hearts.  They began to seek God.  But like Nineveh, the people very quickly abandoned their fear when God relented, and went right back to what they were doing.

Solomon was right when he declared that there was nothing new under the sun.  People behave the same today as they did thousands of years ago.  Millennia of experience is lost upon us because of the curse of sin.  And even with the full and complete revelation of God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ, people still turn a blind eye to what they have been shown.  The hearts of men easily forget, and need to be reminded that God is holy.

Righteous Reminder

God sends us reminders that we are only mortal.  Our perception of time lures us into a false understanding of our mortality.  It is only when we are faced with death, or watch another face it, that we begin to contemplate our own mortality.  So God gives us reminders that we are but a wisp of smoke, a vapor that is here today and gone tomorrow.  We are only promised today.  We need to remember that at any time, God may demand an accounting of our lives and bring us home to Him.  That is why it is all the more important as time grows short that we yield ourselves to His Spirit so that we may be found doing what the master has commanded us to do.  Let us walk by faith and not sight, for the just shall live by faith.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I walking by faith in the path that God has chosen for me?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I thank You for the many reminders to provide in Your Word that You are holy and are to be feared and revered.  Father, help me to honor you in all that I think, say, and do, that others would praise Your holy name.  I seek to walk with You, and greatly desire to do Your will.  Regardless of how other behave, remember me in my walk that You would be glorified.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Morality with God – Isaiah 5:20a,23

Moral Relativism Is Abhorrent To God

20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
but deny justice to the innocent.

Opposing Opinions

Free will is a gift and a curse.  It allows us to both make decisions in life, and have opinions, that are far outside the will and ways of God.  The author of the Book of Romans gives us some insight into how this process occurs:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

The first steps are:

  1. Ignoring God and his commands
  2. Belief that God does not exist
  3. Belief that Man’s deductions and interpretations of life are correct
  4. The worship of the Creation rather than the Creator

Moral Morass

The author of the Book of Romans now breaks it down for us.  Once God is removed from the picture, absolute Truth is no longer a possibility in their minds.  Given that opinions and desires change from time to time, as well as from individual to individual, people no longer adhere to Truth and Righteousness, as they have no external, immutable standard with which to base any semblance of morality upon.

Morality is now subject to the whims of man’s depravity, and thus, moral relativism is born.  What is right for you may not be right for me, but I must tolerate (read: agree with) whatever YOU think is right, even though YOU may not have to tolerate what I believe is right.  As such, truth no longer holds any value, as it has no basis with which it can be moored and evaluated.

The next steps are as follows:

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

After abandoning God, the strongest desire that God has placed in mankind is corrupted:

  1. God withdraws His hand from guidance in man’s sexual desires
  2. People engage in sexual ways that deviate greatly from the pattern that God set forth in the Bible.  This step involves sexual relationships that occur between men and women:
    1. Swinging
    2. Adultery
    3. Lewdness
    4. Orgies
    5. Etc.
  3. As time goes on, even more people worship the creation rather than the Creator

Pushing further, Man delves deeper into sexual unrighteousness:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Being unable to satisfy their desires with the opposite sex (natural relations, as described by Paul the Apostle), they now choose same-sex partners with which to satisfy their ever-increasing desires and lusts.  We see this in the world today, but this is not the first time that sexual depravity has been reported in history:

  • Solomon reported, and rightly so, that there is nothing new under the sun.
  • Lot dealt with this issue during his days (including his daughters’ unrighteous acts of incest)
  • Amnon took his sister Tamar
  • Paul witnessed them during the Roman Empire
  • Monarchs and their families have been dealing with incest for generations (in order to keep the leadership in the existing families

Once they have embraced sexual impurity, the gateway to complete depravity is opened:

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

After the people become sexually “liberated”, they become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.  They don’t just do them; they approve of those that do the same.  Because of this, justice is no longer to be found in them.

Bought with Bribes

The Bible has quite a bit to say about taking and giving bribes.  God does not approve of bribery.  Yet, once God has given people over to a depraved mind, the idea that accepting and giving bribes is now excusable and may even become the way to do business.  Truth and honor have no part in the life of people who have been given over to their shameful lusts and desires.

Since they have abandoned the belief that God exists, provides for them, and that they are accountable to Him, they begin to believe (and as their viewpoint excludes God, it appears to them to be valid) that they have to take care of themselves because no one else will.  This opens the door to justifying all unrighteousness for the sake of self-preservation.

Inexcusable Injustice

Now that people have been compromised by accepting bribes, if there are laws against such things, they can be blackmailed to do what others want them to do.  Justice has been corrupted.  People who were once stalwarts of truth crumble in light of the possible exposure of their misdeeds.  The very people who provided the opportunity and pressure to cave are now the very people who threaten others’ livelihoods and loved ones if they don’t comply.  We begin to see where people who have always been strong in conviction do something that is antithetical to their stated and previously lived-out life.

Justice is now bought and sold.  The rich and powerful get a pass for unrighteous behavior, while the lowly and poor are given the maximum penalty allowed.  This truly becomes a two-tiered justice system.  Those who agree with the people running the country are given special privilege, and those who dissent are destroyed.  The courts are used as a battering ram to financially destroy their opponents, incarcerate the righteous, and provide such terrible consequences that anyone with lesser character will be easily cowed into silence or into publicly agreeing with their world view (if only in words).

To God, who is Holy and Righteous, this must be infuriating.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  What or whom is our basis for truth?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You are full of mercy and compassion.  Yet You allow us to go our own way.  You seek after us and watch expectantly for us to return, even though you know the outcome of all things.  You are to be praised and glorified forever.  Father, help me to be strong and to reject any bribery that is offered to me.  In all my ways, keep me from sinning against You.  Help me to keep You in mind at all times.  As I am pressured by people and circumstances in life, give me strength to resist and to stand fast in Your Word and in Your character.  Deliver me from my enemies, and thwart their every effort to oppose You and Your people.  Guard me and guide me this day, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

Justice of God – Jonah 3:6-10

Justice Must Be Tempered With Compassion

6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.
7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Doctrinal Dilemma

Many people have said the following:

“I can’t believe in a God who would send people to hell.”

What many people fail to realize is that God doesn’t sent them to hell; they send themselves to hell.  God does not arbitrarily point His finger and say, “OK, I’m going to send him and her and her and him to hell.”  Rather, God says the following:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

It would appear that God desires everyone to be saved from their Adam-inherited sinful, rebellious nature.  God is patient and seeks people for a long time.  We are told that should we hear His call, we should respond while He is near.  God has made Himself known to us, so that no one is without an excuse:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

So it would appear that:

  • God is compassionate
  • God is a just judge

This brings up an interesting dilemma:  How can a perfect God, who is full of mercy and grace, be a God full of perfect justice as well?

Beautiful Balance

We often impose our own moral values on situations, rather than look at them through the lens of God’s perspective.  Love cannot be merciful, graceful, and compassionate without being just:

  • Compassion without justice is anarchy
    • Without application of punishment for wrongdoing, we are effectively endorsing the person’s wrongdoing, and enabling them to repeatedly inflict harm upon others.
    • Without punishment, there is no recourse for the protection of law-abiding people from the wickedness of the evil people who disregard the law
  • Justice without compassion is emotionally void and cruel
    • There are appropriate penalties for wrongdoing based on the severity of the wrongdoing.  Actions have consequences.  We wouldn’t take a person’s life for a misdemeanor.  Nor should we give a slap on the wrist to someone who purposefully extinguishes the lives of others.
    • In each case, the severity of the transgression should be met with appropriate consequences.

Let’s define our words so that we understand what we are talking about:

  • Justice is the situation where the penalty for breaking the law has an appropriate disciplinary action based on the severity and type of crime committed.
  • Mercy is not getting what you justly deserve
  • Grace is getting a favor or blessing that was not earned (not based on merit)
  • Compassion is a deep sympathy or sorrow for someone who is in pain or suffering, with a strong desire to alleviate the pain and/or suffering
  • Holiness is the act of being set apart from ANY wrongdoing and set apart to complete and total righteousness (the inability to do anything wrong, and do everything right).   With the absence of wrongdoing, holiness is considered PERFECTION.

In order for Justice to be perfect, it must be tempered with compassion, mercy, and grace.  Otherwise, we have the knee-jerk reaction of the emotionless dictator who yells, “Off with his head!” to even the most trivial perceived rebellion.

Perfect Position

Since God is holy (and thus perfect), any rebellion of any nature must be punished appropriately.  The level of the rebellion must be met with the correct level of punishment.  God is infinitely holy and perfect, so any rebellion, no matter how small, needs to be dealt with justly.  The only just way to deal with rebellion, when perfection is the standard, is to remove the person from the population (through incarceration) so that they won’t harm anyone else.  Every country in the world has laws to protect its people from the evil of others.

So, why should we hold God to a lower standard?  People want God to just accept them as they are (which He does) and to not expect them to change.  This is the equivalent of a murdering cannibal going before a judge and saying, “You are an intolerant, racist bigot.  Just because I kill and eat people, you would deny me my freedom to be with other people?  How dare you!  I shouldn’t have to change to conform to your perverted sense of reality, judge!  My view of life is the correct one!  You must conform to my views!  You have no right to ‘judge’ me!  I demand that you immediately drop all charges, and I will be suing you for wrongful arrest and harassment!  You will see me in court!”

(Hopefully) No one would ever agree with that position.  Yet, when we say, “I can’t believe that God would judge me because I (fill in the blank), are we not doing the same exact thing?  Are we not saying that our morality and ethics are of a higher, more pure, more righteous, and more perfect nature than that of God?

God, recognizing that we have a sinful nature, has shown us compassion in His infinite wisdom.  He gave us an opportunity to be reformed and rejoined back to Him in relationship from isolation by sin.  God sent His One and Only Son, who never sinned, to die upon the cross to be a perfect substitutionary sacrifice for us. In this, he has shown:

  • Compassion – God wants to alleviate our pain and suffering by giving us the opportunity to repent
  • Mercy – When we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we are no longer going to get the punishment that we rightly deserve
  • Grace – God didn’t have to provide a way – He is perfectly justified in sending the whole lot of humans to permanent incarceration within His holding cell – the Lake of Fire.  Instead, He gave us unmerited favor through the sinless shed blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, as an atonement (payment for wrongdoing) for our sinful rebellion against Him.

God has shown that He, and only He, has the perfect balance between Justice and Compassion.

Jesus paid our fine.  But who would consider a person “rehabilitated” if they refused to acknowledge that their actions were wrong by willfully continuing to do the same things over and over again without any regret or attempt to rectify the behavior? God loves us just as we are, but He loves us too much to allow us to stay where we are.

With reprieve comes the implicit understanding that the actions that led to the crime would not continue.  God calls this process sanctification.  We are being transformed from desiring evil and acting upon those desires into desiring righteousness and acting upon these new desires.  Even people who aren’t able to control themselves (the mentally ill) are placed away from the ability to do harm when they are unable to change.

Positional Preference

Our perception of God’s justice is marred by our sinful nature.  It is only when we see Him through the lens of Truth and Perfection that we can better understand and begin to grasp the wisdom, balance, and perfection that He displays when He operates in our lives.  We can no sooner fault God for injustice as we can exonerate ourselves from law by merely saying we don’t agree with the law.

While the laws of men may be (and often are) flawed, the laws of God are perfect.  They will withstand any criticism with one exception: those who are unable to critically think, and instead think with their emotions as it best serves them and their own desires – always at the price of others.  It is the self-serving that so piously and loudly denounce ethics and morality as unjust, antiquated, mean-spirited, racist, uncaring, and intolerant.  And the last is true:  Morality is intolerant of immorality (and, therefore, evil).  That is exactly why we have laws…

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Are we of the mindset that our morality is superior to that of God?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, I thank You that You are holy and just.  Help me to see past my own faults to gaze at Your glorious face, and see how far short of Your glory I fall.  Help me to remember that You and You alone are able to see without impaired judgement, as You and You alone are holy.  Help me to shed any and all attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs that do not conform to Your holy revelation of truth in Your Word.  Guide me in all that I think, say and do, that I would see everything through Your perfect eyes and perspective.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?