The Judgment of God

“COVID is the judgment of God for our sins.”  Some are coming to that conclusion, certain that God is angry with humanity who has rejected Him.  I am not naïve about the spiritual bankruptcy of the world in which I live. Greed, materialism, violence, unending war, exploitation of the weak and the poor, and sexual promiscuity are everywhere.  21st Americans, even many who claim to be “Christian,” have pushed God to the edge of life, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’  It is an insult to the Lord of Glory but to think of God as an exhausted parent who just loses His temper and makes everybody pay is not only wrong, but something like blasphemy.

God is not a vengeful Being who set a virus loose in the world because He is fed up with us! He is not a weak God unwilling to challenge our sins, however.  HE does work to bring us to our senses, to invite us to re-consider our ways, with a corrective LOVE that desires, above all, our reconciliation to Him.  People famously complain about the awfulness of eternal judgment wondering how a good God could possibly send anyone to Hell, or allow anyone to experience misery. The fact is that we (both individually and as a society) choose our Hell!  When people live as He directs, they will find life. When they choose to live for Self, in sin, the seeds of death are sown – physical and spiritual death. God grants us the freedom to choose to align ourselves with His will or to ignore it.

  • In the opening chapters of Genesis God gave a direction gave a simple direction: “Don’t eat or you’ll die.” They ate. They died.
  • In Deuteronomy He invited His people to remember to revere Him: “Look at what I’ve done for you today: I’ve placed in front of you Life and Good Death and Evil. And I command you today: Love God, your God. Walk in his ways. Keep his commandments, regulations, and rules so that you will live, really live, live exuberantly, blessed by God, your God, in the land you are about to enter and possess. But I warn you: If you have a change of heart, refuse to listen obediently, and willfully go off to serve and worship other gods, you will most certainly die. You won’t last long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.” (Deuteronomy 30:15-18, The Message)  The long history of His people, cycling through repeated times of obedience and blessing and rejecting Him and suffering the consequence, confirms the truth of His words.
  • Christians, who know the Grace of Jesus Christ, are STILL challenged to obey and find the fullness of life. Jesus said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:10-11, NIV)  
  • Paul’s inspired words are clear: “Remember that you can’t ignore God and get away with it. You will always reap what you sow! Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful desires will harvest the consequences of decay and death. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So don’t get tired of doing what is good.” (Galatians 6:7)

No one can say with certainty where this plague came from but I can absolutely say that our response to it has been anything but LIFE-GIVING or GOD-HONORING.  We have become less loving, more selfish, and many have used the virus as an excuse to avoid worship and service. Our response has only made a terrible thing worse. While I would be wrong to say God judged the world with a pandemic, I unapologetically state that it is an invitation to this world (and me!) to reconsider the pride that has caused us to reject or marginalize Him. Our illusions of self-sufficiency should be shattered. 

IF we will humble ourselves, He will stand with us, keep our hearts at rest, and grant us His powerful salvation.   Alas, I see little humility – among Christians, in our nation, in our leaders. We have not prayed for His mercy. We have not loved others above ourselves in His Name. Thus, we remain in the grip of fear and/or denial as if those were the only responses possible.

So this morning, may I invite you to humble prayer?
If confession is needed, let’s do it – with the full expectation of His grace to cover our failures and sins and to restore us to our place near His heart. 
Then, let us go on to bold prayers for the release of His power,
first in the invisible realm, praying that He will curb the power of the Evil one who seeks to ‘kill and destroy,’ and,
second in the presentation of ourselves as servant warriors who love others to wholeness- body, soul, and spirit- as we give ourselves in selfless service.

The word from the Word is an excerpt from the prayer that Solomon prayed at the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. Make it a model for your own prayers today.

“If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you,
and then they pray toward this Temple and confess your name and
turn from their sins because you have punished them, then hear from heaven and
forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel.

Teach them to do what is right, and send rain on your land that you
have given to your people as their special possession.

“If there is a famine in the land, or plagues, or crop disease, or attacks of locusts or caterpillars,
or if your people’s enemies are in the land besieging their towns—whatever the trouble is—
and if your people offer a prayer concerning their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple,
then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive.
Give your people whatever they deserve, for you alone know the human heart.
Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.”
 (1 Kings 8:35-40, NLT)


Great Is Thy Faithfulness

(Focus on HIS faithfulness and be called to His side.)

Great is Thy faithfulness
O God my Father
There is no shadow
Of turning with Thee
Thou changest not
Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been
Thou forever wilt be

Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning
New mercies I see
All I have needed
Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness
Lord unto me

Summer and winter
And springtime and harvest
Sun moon and stars
In their courses above
Join with all nature
In manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness
Mercy and love

Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thy own dear presence
To cheer and to guide
Strength for today
And bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine
With ten thousand besideThomas Obediah Chisholm | William Marion Runyan

© Words: Public Domain

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