There are those who say our God is a God of love, grace and mercy. He allows sin and evil because of our free will, but stands aside, helping those who are called by His name, to endure.
As I have been reading Jeremiah, I see a very different picture of God. He is a God who is patient but will exact disaster on sinful nations and people who have turned from Him. I was struck by a verse in Jeremiah 49:21 that says: “‘Arise and strike a nation at ease which lives in confidence,’ declares the Lord, ‘a nation that has neither gates nor bars; its people live alone.’” Does this also describe our country?
There are many who say that God is not the same as He was in the Old Testament. We are under a new covenant, a new dispensation, in which God acts differently. He is a God of love. He no longer punishes sin because of grace. He is our friend. We needn’t fear Him.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Psalm 111:10) I believe God has not changed. “For I am the Lord, I do not change. (Malachi 3:6, Psalm 55:19, James 1:7) Many of us have trouble with this other side of God and do not think of Him in this way. “But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does (Job 23:13).
Without prophets, we aren’t confronted with His impending disasters in response to our turning our backs on Him, but we do have Biblical accounts. We can see that God loves us, is patient and doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. But, we can also see a sovereign God who hates sin and will eventually say, “Enough.”
So, what should our response be? Do we rest easy in His love and grace, counting on the rapture before things really get tough? Or do we turn from our sinful ways and be obedient to Him? Jeremiah tells us that we are cursed if we are lax in doing the Lord’s work (Jeremiah 48:10). We must stand up for God and faithfully proclaim His message. If we want to be blessed and stay disasters we must be diligent.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Let us pray for ourselves and our communities. Let us seek personal and public revival. “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave behind a blessing (Joel 2: 13,14).
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