God Is Just

Numbers 31:1-2
“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Take vengeance on the Midianites for the children of Israel. Afterward you shall be gathered to your people.’”

Webster defines vengeance as, “the act of doing something to hurt someone because that person did something that hurt you or someone else.” Some synonymous would include payback, reprisal or even revenge. We seem to be fascinated with the concept of vengeance. It is the premise behind famous works of literature like; The Iliad, Hamlet and The Count of Monty Christo. It seems that the idea of paying back those who have wronged us resonates within the heart of man. This is probably due to the fact that all of us have felt wronged one time or another and wished that we were able to do something to get back at the ones who hurt us. There seems to be an innate cry in the heart of all men for what we perceive as justice. We have all heard children complain that things are not fair, and we see adults, young and old, rallying behind politicians who have stirred in them the desire to get what is theirs.

When it comes to the concept of divine vengeance it is vital to realize some very important distinctions between the judgment of God and the judgment of men. First off, the very definition is different. Instead of being a form of payback for being hurt, divine vengeance would better be seen as, “punishment inflicted in retaliation for an offense.” God does not lash out in a fit of rage, nor does He seek to get back at those who have hurt Him. Instead, God metes out perfect justice upon those who have violated His laws. Throughout Scripture we find that the vengeance of God does not come without warning and long periods of forbearance  with the rebellious ways of mankind. The Canaanites were given over four hundreds years before judgment came, Egypt received numerous plagues before the angel of death arrived, the judgments recorded in the book of Revelation are distributed in waves.  God gives every individual numerous opportunities to turn to Him before ever pouring out His wrath.

While judgement is not our favorite subject to meditate upon, it is important for us to realize there is a time coming for every individual, and for the world as a whole, when we will give an account to God for the life we lived, and the decision we made regarding His Son. There is no way to avoid that day, but there is a way to avoid the judgment. The Bible teaches that, apart from Christ, we are all under the wrath of God, but when we receive Christ, wrath is replaced with mercy. Instead of facing judgment, we can receive the free gift of eternal life. One thing we can count on is that God will be fair. If we want to avoid punishment and receive reward, we must allow Christ to take the judgment we deserve.

Pastor  Jim

 

That’s Not Fair

1 Samuel 30:24-25
“’…But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall share alike.’ So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day.”

As David and his men pursued the Amalekites, some of them grew weary. It is not difficult to understand why. Not only were they pursuing at a rapid pace, but they were doing so with broken hearts. Amelek had plundered their goods and kidnapped their families. For days, these men had been grieving, many, perhaps, unable to eat, due to the deep sorrow they were feeling. As a result, two hundred men were unable to press on, and the company split into two groups. Two hundred men stayed behind, and four hundred went to battle.

After a decisive victory, David’s men returned with all their goods, their families and the spoils of wars. As the two groups came together, the men who went to battle thought they should receive a larger portion than those who stayed behind. This seems to be reasonable, after all they were the ones who risked their lives to do the work and defeat the enemy. David, however, intervened and declared that equal portions would be given to those who go to battle and to those who remain behind. Obviously, David saw things differently. All they could see was the hard work they had put in, David saw that the victory was the Lord’s.

Whenever we are involved in ministry, of any kind, we must realize we have been chosen, equipped, strengthened, and will be directed by the Lord. When the ministry has been accomplished, it is because of the work of God. We no more lead someone to Christ, than David’s men won the battle. It is the Lord who does the work, and we are involved in the process so we can grow in Christ. It is folly to exalt ourselves above another, because of the way God has chosen to use us.

Whether you are called to go to the mission field, serve in children’s ministry, lead a home fellowship, be on the prayer team, invite friends to church, or serve in any other capacity, it is critical we realize, the rewards are the same. There is no greater reward for teaching than there is for inviting. The key is, understanding we are rewarded for faithfulness.

Whatever God has called you to, do it heartily as unto the Lord. If you are struggling to determine how God wants to use you, keep a few things in mind. First, He loves souls, so invite friends to Christ, or to church where they can hear about Him. Second, He wants to make disciples, so invest in the lives of others to help them grow in Christ.

Pastor Jim