November 7 “Balancing justice and mercy”

gavel justice mercy verdictAbuse, rejection, abandonment, criticism … why does it seem that those who do such things sometimes get away with it?

 

Today’s Readings:
Ezekiel 5 & 6
Psalm 119.169-176
Proverbs 28.14
Hebrews 3.1-19

 

Ezekiel 5 & 6:

Balancing justice & mercy

God works very hard to help us understand His truths. In the New Testament Jesus told parables, used illustrations from the agricultural world, and told stories like that of the prodigal son to help explain the Word.

Here God instructed the prophet Ezekiel to act out many of his prophecies. In these verses he was to cut his hair and use it as a picture of the nation of Israel, burning a portion of it, chopping a portion with the sword, scattering a portion to the wind, and binding a small “remnant” in his clothing to protect it. This was an illustrated warning of the coming judgment along with God’s promise to protect His faithful remnant.

God is good, but He is also holy and righteous, and although, His patience and mercy causes Him to hold back the hand of judgment, there will be a time when it must be carried out.

Sometimes we look at someone else’s life, especially if they have sinned against us, and ask “Why did God let them get away with that?”

But when it’s us, we want mercy and cry foul when we suffer the consequences of our actions.

The reality is, we must trust in the sovereignty and wisdom of God in every situation whether in our own lives or the lives of others, knowing that God is faithful to His Word, in His own perfect timing.

If we’re experiencing God’s discipline, we need to know it’s because of His love for us. Hebrews 12.5b-6:

5 … “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”

And when we are sinned against we need to remember Romans 12.17-21:

17 Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. 18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

And finally, Galatians 6.7-10 reminds us:

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked ; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap,” and “’Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” In reality, no one “gets away with anything.” God knows everything that is going on both externally and in our hearts. There will be a day of accounting for those who never surrender to the Lord. Even for believers, God disciplines His children. God will not be mocked, but because He has perfect wisdom, He knows the exact balance of justice and mercy required in every situation.

 

sheep lambPsalm 119.169-176:

I have gone astray

Verse 176 says, “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commandments.”

After extolling the wisdom and virtues of the Word and his love for it … for 176 verses … the psalmist still recognized his own sinful nature, “I have gone astray …” and understood that he needed God to keep seeking him!

 

Proverbs 28.14:

Calamity & the fear of the Lord

“Happy is the man who is always reverent, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.”

True happiness, peace and joy come from a reverential fear of God, but when we harden our hearts and are determined to go our own way, we too, will eventually reap the consequences of our own choices.

 

wisdomHebrews 3.1-19:

Warn, encourage & restore

Verse 13, “but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Galations 6.1, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.”

God not only teaches His truths directly through the reading and preaching of His Word, but He also uses all of us to warn and encourage one another. In Hebrews 3.13 He commands us to exhort one another so that we won’t be hardened by sin. One definition of that word “exhort” is to beg or entreat. Galatians 6 takes it even further by commanding us to “restore.” That word means to fix or mend much like a bone being set.

So when we see a brother or sister who is caught up in sin, we should be willing to allow God to use us to warn, encourage, and restore, even when it is uncomfortable and inconvenient.

Blessings,
Donna

 

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3 thoughts on “November 7 “Balancing justice and mercy”

  1. Pingback: November 16 "Why you need a theology of suffering" - Soul Survival

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