I get a little bothered when people talk about God’s judgement. All the hurricanes, fires, earthquakes and calamity that is occurring worldwide is God’s judgement upon us – I don’t think so! This certainly does not fit into the character of the God I love and serve.
“Hurricane Harvey is God’s judgement upon America!” Not! This simply rubs me the wrong way. It’s just not biblical. Why do people always say it’s God’s judgement from devastating fires to personal hardship? Do we just not know our God well enough?
Now Abraham, here is a man who knew His God! God came down and told Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because their sin was so great, there was an outcry calling for God’s judgement on the city. Abraham was moved with compassion for the righteous that were left in Sodom and Gomorrah, thinking too of his nephew Lot, and he began to beseech to the Lord: “Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25. Abraham knew that God is a righteous God, a just God, and would not punish the innocent the same way as the guilty!
In the end there was only one righteous man in Sodom, and that was Lot. Before the righteous judgement of God was rained down upon the city, the Lord led that one righteous man out. “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”
The word for right in the Hebrew is ‘mishpat’ which means; justice, act of deciding a case, right, proper or fitting. Mishpat is used interchangeably throughout the Old Testament as justice or righteousness. Micah 6:8, a well known verse, says: “And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly (mishpat), to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” The Lord requires you to do what is right! Just as the Father is a righteous God and will always do what is right.
I love the scripture in Psalm 33:4 that tells us, “For the Lord’s decrees are just and everything He does is fair.” The New Testament goes on to tell us more about the judgement of God. Acts 17:31 says, “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” There will be a day of judgement and God will judge the world through His Son, Jesus Christ. God the Father himself will not be the one who judges mankind, but the Son himself. “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgement to the Son.” John 5:22. These are the words of Jesus himself.
When Jesus hung upon that cross, dying that painful death for all mankind, the full wrath of God was poured out upon Him. He took our punishment, God’s judgement was spilled upon Him for you and for me, once and for all, and now we stand righteous through Christ. If we believe that our Father pours out judgement and wrath upon us in the form of disasters and terrifying tragedies, then are we believing that He did not pour out His full judgement upon His Son, wouldn’t that negate the cross? Would this not detract from the full miracle of Christ dying for us, of God’s judgement and wrath poured out on the Son, so that on the appointed day of judgement we can stand clean before the Lord, washed white in the blood of the Lamb?
Do we run the risk of looking at the great sin of the world and thinking, “if I was God I would visit my anger upon them?” In turn justifying that this must be what God is doing… We become the judge of the sin in this world and consider our anger righteous. God’s word says, “So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Let’s become people who speak less and listen more. Let us hear the pain of those dying and not condemn them to our judgement. Let’s rejoice in the character of Almighty God who is all at once righteous, fair , good and kind. Who has made a way for us, so that we don’t have to come under the wrath and judgement of God.