Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is God ruthless or merciful?

Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.  And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions.  Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age.  But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15

So often when I'm discussing God with a nonbeliever and extolling His mercy and love and grace, I get the question 'What about the old testament where God commanded Israel to wipe out all the peoples living in the promised land?  What about all that murder and bloodshed? Would a loving God do such things?'

The answer is yes, God did. What I don't think we understand is the way God views sin. Because we sin every day, we don't understand that to God, sin is unbearable. It is depraved and horrid and in His holiness, He cannot tolerate it. All you have to do is look at all the rules and regulations surrounded the Jewish temple and worship to see that God takes sin and holiness very seriously. I mean the priests couldn't even enter the main part of the temple without going through a series of cleansings and sacrifices and sprinkling blood on themselves. Sin is contagious and it cannot come in contact with Holiness.  

God waited over 400 years, keeping the Israelites enslaved in Egypt while He desperately sought to get all the peoples living in the promised land to repent of their wicked ways and turn to him. 400 years!!  As he told Moses in the scripture above, Their iniquity was not yet complete. What does that mean? It means there would come a point when they would continually reject God over and over and would dive deeper and deeper into wickedness and at that point, God would give up on them. But before that He would keep reaching out, hoping they'd turn to Him. You see God didn't just love the Israelites. He loved and loves all peoples. I truly believe that if these Amorites and others would have turned to God, He would have allowed the Jews to intermingle with them and inhabit the land together. But they didn't. 

So why did God have them killed? Because sin is contagious. It pollutes the land. These people were sacrificing their babies to their gods. They were engaging in all sorts of sexual worship. They had to be removed or the Israelites would most certainly have been swayed to join in their sin.

But the fact that God gave them 400 years to change astounds me. I'm in all of His mercy! 
Yet, don't we as a nation sacrifice our unborn babies to the god of selfishness and convenience?  Aren't we also engaging in all kinds of sexual immorality? I wonder how long God is going to give us? 

12 comments:

  1. Sun Oct 31st,
    Morning, MaryLu.
    I am "always" ... totally amazed and in awe, of our Loving and Most Patient Lord and Saviour !!! One verse says: "He is willing that NONE should perish". In His great, great love for us, His unconditional love ... He is patient, and waits for people to come to Him. But, his righteous anger will not hold out forever. Just as you said ... God cannot bear sin ... He hates it !!! (Not us ... but the sin.) Often I have made the comment, that it's a good thing that I am NOT God. For, I would be zapping people out of the picture ... right, left and centre !!! Thank goodness, that God is God ... He is the One in control, He is in charge ... and He will call the shots (to say when 'enough is enough').
    We serve an incredible, awesome, perfect and righteous God ... and I love Him SO very much !!! What an honour and priviledge it is, to be his 'adopted daughter' !!!
    Our prayers "need" to be for every lost soul out there ... before it is too late for them. We need to pray for their - spiritual eyes to be opened, to see His glory; their deaf ears, to be opened to hear 'the good news'; and, their hardened hearts, to be softened and renewed.
    What an astounding God we have !!! To "Him" be "all" the honour and glory !!!
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

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  2. What a great post. I vote "merciful" because He gives us so much time to do the right thing...and we don't always do it. Hmm...I've often wondered how much time he's given us as a country because I see things going in a "not good" direction...but then I always pray that God would have mercy on our country and remembr those of us who are faithful to HIM!!!! Thanks for sharing this, MaryLu :) :) Love and hugs from Oregon, Heather :)

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  3. Debbie Mitchell debsbunch5@jesusanswers.comOctober 31, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Great post, MaryLu! You are so right about us today......and the longer God tarries, the more of His children will turn away from sin....The headlines today are so terrible, yet not surprising to those who belong to God. Even though it seems like God is taking forever to come, we have to realize that when He does come, those who haven't turned to Him with burn in Hell for all eternity.....including our unsaved loved ones! So, while we wait upon His return, let's do our best to try and bring the lost into the fold......Have a great week everyone! (Hey, MaryLu, I started reading Surrender the Heart last night and I hated to put it down, but I needed to get some sleep. I had already read five chapters when I realized how late it was. Do you know if Surrender the Night will be offered as an ebook,too?)

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  4. Since God waited 400 hundred years for the Israelites, I hope He would give us Americans something like that to realize our sin and repent. I would hate to go through the slavery that the Israelites went through (which many scholars doubt actually happened).
    Great Post!

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  5. Thanks everyone! Brenda, I loved your comment on zapping people! I've often said that if I was God, I would have nuked the entire planet and started over! Good thing I'm not!
    Yes, Heather, may God have mercy on our country! Let's all get out and vote tomorrow. Maybe with God's help, we can turn things around.
    Debbie, I also have lost loved ones.. so I'm constantly on my knees for them. Glad you're enjoying Surrender the Heart! Yes, Surrender the night will also be offered as an e-book.
    Eszter, I'm hoping for 400 years of mercy too! But I think Jesus will come before then. We better get our act together!
    God Bless you all!

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  6. I'm so glad that God is as merciful as He is. I certainly wouldn't be. With my temper, if I were God I probably would've wiped out the human race a thousand times over by now. But in Isaiah 55:7-9 God says "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I find great comfort in these words.

    But you know, I've been wondering lately what would happen if, instead of settling for simply letting the world speed towards destruction and watching from our pedestal of Christianity, if we got mad at the sin and allowed God to work through us to do something about it. What if we decided to follow the Great Commission to the best of our abilities through prayer and soul-winning, leading rescue missions to snatch people from the brink of hell? Don’t you think that there might be a drastic revival in America? I'm praying for that.

    ~Sasafras

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  7. I often wonder why God hasn't just smote the whole country yet! It's scary to turn on the news and see all sorts of sin and depravity treated as commonplace!

    I also agree with Sasafras's comment. It seems like so many people want to try to rush Jesus's coming by abandoning the world to its sin, but the Bible tells us that if we want Jesus to come back sooner, we should be doing the opposite! 2 Peter 3:10-12 says, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and all its works will be burned up. Since all things things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in HOLY CONDUCT and GODLINESS, looking for and HASTENING the coming of the day of God..." (emphais mine). So, to hasten Jesus's coming, we must be godly - and what's more godly (or God-like, I should say) than preaching the Gospel and turning people from their sins! And our own country is the perfect place to start.

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  8. Sasafras, yes I think that a great revival is highly possible in America! We've had a few before, so what's to stop us now? We simple need to humble ourselves and acknowledge Jesus as Lord and God as our Father and the resource of all our blessings and pray for Him to outpour His Spirit upon us.
    Absolutely Sapphire! That's how we can hasten His return, by preaching the gospel and leading others to Him. What is He waiting for? For all those He has chosen to come into the Kingdom, for Jesus will not lose anyone the Father has given him. So, instead of giving up, we should be even more on fire to share His good news with others!

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  9. Most of the time it feels like we're already at the end.
    At lunch the other day (I'm in high school, by the way), a random guy comes up to my friend and me and says, "Have you ever had sex?" That makes me sick. It's so acceptable to these people that you can go up and ask a stranger that? Then later another friend said her sister was sleeping with guys and, “Figured out how to not get pregnant.” That's depressing to me. Have we really come to this?

    I don't understand how a woman could want to kill her unborn baby. I'm not trying to be judgmental, like everyone else, I’m a sinner. The word "guilty" is written across my forehead. But if we all tried and stood up together, wouldn't that work?


    ~Abigail =[

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  10. Abigail, I'm so sorry you have to endure such rude and gross questions at school. There's just no morality anymore. It really does shock me. That's one of the reasons, I love history. Gentleman behaved like gentleman. Anyway, there's nothing wrong with saying you believe abortion is wrong. God's word says murder is wrong. You're aren't being judgmental. You're stating a fact from the word of God. You're not saying you are any better than someone who aborts their baby.
    Yes, we all need to stand up together and don't be afraid of being persecuted. We need to make our voices heard!

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  11. I'm in college, and some people actually think that I'm in a cult because I'm not sleeping around with anybody and that I'm staying pure for marriage. Its like they feel sorry for me that I don't have any "experience" or a few kids outside of marriage. Can you believe that? It makes me sick! But the sad (and ironic) thing is, though they condemn ME for trying to live a Godly life, its ThEIR unGodly lives that will ultimately condemn them. Sometimes it makes me want to cry over their blindness...

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  12. Eszter, though your post saddened me, it did not surprise me. I hear that even in High school, everyone is expected to have sex. What a travesty. How God's heart must ache for His children. But be strong in your faith. When you are persecuted, God richly blesses you. Be a light in a very dark place. I'll pray for you!

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