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God - Judge and Redeemer

haiti

The recent disaster in Haiti caught the attention of the world. Rarely in modern times has devastation been so complete and the loss of life so high. It was particularly painful for me to see on the news places I had been that are now destroyed, and that memories of busy streets full of people in Port-au-Prince are replaced with so much death. Of course, for many the tragic fate of so many people causes some to question the ways of God.

The Bible never tries to soften the horror of natural disasters, nor does it ever apologize for God. If it is true, as the Bible teaches, that men are rebels against God, and deserve hell, then the only question an earthquake should prompt is this one: why doesn’t God strike the earth with devastating quakes every day? The answer is that His mercy permits us to enjoy His gifts and His patience allows us time to repent. Jesus was asked about the deaths of individuals when a tower collapsed in Siloam. Were those who died greater sinners? “I tell you, no,” He said, “but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5). No, they were not worse. It is what we all deserve. It seems we are the ones who owe God an apology…and much, much more. Natural disasters are a huge reminder that men are not right with God and death is not far from any of us.

The flood of Noah was an early example of God’s complete willingness to destroy mankind for its sin. Out of all the inhabitants on the earth, only eight people were spared. Virtually all living matter was swept away and much of it buried deep in the earth. Now we fuel our cars and heat our homes with the remnants of that world. Paul speaks of the future with similar cataclysmic events.

While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.


Isaiah uses language any Haitian will now understand:

Terror and pit and snare confront you, O inhabitant of the earth. Then it will be that he who flees the report of disaster will fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; for the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake. The earth is broken asunder, the earth is split through, the earth is shaken violently. The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard and it totters like a shack, for its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. (Isaiah 24:17-20)

 

God is the judge. It is His world and His law man has broken and ridiculed. Judgments are in His hand and according to His time. If that is true, then why do we help the stricken? Are we acting contrary to His judgments? Not at all. God is also a Redeemer. He saves sinners and brings them to eternal glory. We believers are the face of His mercy in the earth. He judges; we announce hope for lost sinners in Christ Jesus.

And so we give, and labor, and pray for those who suffer. With perfect justice they could have been us! There is no contradiction between God’s judgment and our compassion. As redeemed sinners, we share God’s redemptive love. We leave the judgment to Him. Understanding who God is and who we are keeps in us a healthy, balanced perspective. He is a holy and righteous God, and we are unworthy sinners saved by grace. By loving others, we do our part faithfully to His glory, and we let Him do His will according to His infinite wisdom.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Wayne Wilson

Originally printed in the Acton Faith Bible Church Pony Express. Vol. III, No. 2, February 2010.

 

“Give ear and come to me, hear me, that your soul may live.”

– Isaiah 55:3