God Himself proclaims blessings to Israel
when they walk in obedience, otherwise curses await them. In fact, Israel
was punished double for their sins (Isaiah 40:2). They were required not
just to know Godís laws but also to keep them.
The original intent of these great and godly
laws given by the Sovereign LORD are meant to protect them from sins,
and not to punish them. And like Adam, they went over to the other side
of Godís laws, they chose to disobey, and therefore incurred punishment
instead of protection. They transgressed against the very laws they knew
and kept. For that reason, they received double punishment.
To be Godís people isnít all about
His grace alone. That is only one side of the coin. The other side is
His glory. We have to live in both His grace and His glory! Amazingly,
within His grace is His glory and within His glory is His grace. They
are inseparably intertwined. If we only understand the meaning of the
glory of His grace, we would not contemplate to degrade it.
Grace though free is not cheap. The life
Jesus offered to us is the very life He offered up for us. It costs us
nothing but it could Him everything! Too much grace is disgrace like a
spoilt child without proper conduct and character. God is both the righteous
Lion and the merciful Lamb; both the loving Father and the just King.
In Ezekiel 14:19-23 (TLB), God said:
- "And if I pour out
my fury by sending an epidemic of disease into the land, and the plague
kills man and beast alike,
- though Noah, Daniel, and
Job were living there, the Lord God says that only they would be saved
because of their righteousness."
- And the Lord says: "Four
great punishments await Jerusalem to destroy all life: war, famine,
ferocious beasts ,
- If there are survivors and they come here
to join you as exiles in Babylon, you will see with your own eyes how
wicked they are, and you will know it was right for me to destroy Jerusalem.
- You will agree, when you meet them, that
it is not without cause that all these things are being done to Israel."
Being Who He is, a just God, He punishes
His children first before He punishes others. In 1 Peter 4:17-19 (TLB),
we have this admonition from Apostle Paul:
- For the time has
come for judgment, and it must begin first among God's own children.
And if even we who are Christians must be judged, what terrible
fate awaits those who have never believed in the Lord?
- If the righteous are barely saved, what
chance will the godless have?
- So if you are suffering
according to God's will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself
to the God Who made you, for He will never fail you.
Does His judgment spell the end? Of course
not! Just look at Israel...
Sars & Wars Episode II:
The Return Of The Prodigal
King Solomon prayed a prayer in I Kings 8:33-40
(TLB) which may give us a clue and an answer to the famines, wars, diseases
and plagues we are encountering in our world today:
- "And when Your people sin and their
enemies defeat them, hear them from heaven and forgive
them if they turn to You again and confess that You are their God.
- Bring them back again to this land which
You have given to their fathers.
- "And when the skies are shut up and
there is no rain because of their sin, hear them from heaven and forgive
them when they pray toward this place and confess Your name.
- And after You have
punished them, help them to follow the good ways in which they should
walk, and send rain upon the land that You have given Your people.
- "If there is a famine in the land
caused by plant disease or locusts or caterpillars, or if Israel's enemies
besiege one of her cities, or if the people are
struck by an epidemic or plague-- or whatever the problem is--
- then when the people realize
their sin and pray toward this Temple,
- hear them from heaven
and forgive and answer all who have made an honest confession; for You
know each heart.
- In this way they will always learn to
reverence You as they continue to live in this land that You have given
One night the Lord appeared to Solomon
and told him (2 Chr 7:12-22;TLB):
- "I have heard your prayer and have
chosen this Temple as the place where I want you to sacrifice to Me.
- If I shut up the heavens so that there
is no rain, or if I command the locust swarms to eat up all of your
crops, or if I send an epidemic among
- then if My people
will humble themselves and pray, and search for Me, and turn from their
wicked ways, I will hear them from heaven and forgive their sins and
heal their land.
- I will listen, wide awake,
to every prayer made in this place.
- For I have chosen this Temple and sanctified
it to be My home forever; My eyes and My heart shall always be here.
- "As for yourself, if you follow Me
as your father David did,
- then I will see to it that you and your
descendants will always be the kings of Israel;
- but if you don't follow
Me, if you refuse the laws I have given you and worship idols,
- then I will destroy My
people from this land of Mine that I have given them, and this Temple
shall be destroyed even though I have sanctified it for Myself. Instead,
I will make it a public horror and disgrace.
- Instead of its being famous, all who pass
by will be incredulous. "'Why has the Lord done such a terrible
thing to this land and to this Temple?' they will ask.
- "And the answer will
be, 'Because His people abandoned the Lord God of their fathers, the
God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they worshiped other
gods instead. That is why He has done all this to them.'"
The only antidote against the four
terrors is now in our hands, in four dosages:
- humble ourselves
- seek His face
- turn from our wicked ways
Then God will hear us!
Sars & Wars Episode III:
The Care of The Angels
In the midst of Sars and Wars, we have these
promises of Godís protection in Psalm 91 (Todayís English Version).
The only condition is abiding in His Presence and therein is His Protection.
Only those who ascend His holy mountain will
abide and stand in these troubled times. Only clean hands and pure hearts
are allowed entry.
- Whoever goes to the LORD for safety, whoever
remains under the protection of the Almighty,
- can say to Him, "You are my defender
and protector. You are my God; in You I trust."
- He will keep you safe
from all hidden dangers and from all deadly diseases.
- He will cover you with His wings; you
will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you.
- You need not fear any
dangers at night or sudden attacks during the day
- or the plagues that strike
in the dark or the evils that kill in daylight.
- A thousand may fall dead beside you, ten
thousand all around you, but you will not be harmed.
- You will look and see how the wicked are
- You have made the LORD your defender,
the Most High your protector,
- and so no disaster will strike you, no
violence will come near your home.
- God will put His
angels in charge of you to protect you wherever you go.
- They will hold you up with their hands
to keep you from hurting your feet on the stones.
- You will trample down lions and snakes,
fierce lions and poisonous snakes.
- God says, "I will
save those who love Me and will protect those who acknowledge Me as
- When they call to Me, I will answer them; when they are in trouble,
I will be with them. I will rescue them and honour them.
- I will reward them with long life; I will save them."