Tuesday, May 3, 2016

a strategy of love

The Word for today:
Jeremiah 49:34-50:46
Sometimes we get the idea that God judges because he's in a bad mood.
Get rid of the idea.
Judgment in the Bible is not an emotional decision. Judgment is a part of his plan to save us. In fact, judgment preceded sin, when the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. (1)
God's judgment isn't in reaction to sin. In chess terms, judgment is three moves ahead of sin. Consider what God the Holy Spirit is doing--at this very moment--in order to bring people to an understanding of the forgiveness which is offered at the cross of Jesus Christ:
"And when he (the Holy Spirit) comes, he will convince the world of its sin, and of God's righteousness, and of the coming judgment." (John 16:8)
Then consider what the relentless judgment in Jeremiah yields:
"Israel is a scattered flock that lions have chased away.
The first to devour him was the king of Assyria;
the last to crush his bones was Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.
But I will bring Israel back to his own pasture
and he will graze on Carmel and Bashan;
his appetite will be satisfied
on the hills of Ephraim and Gilead.
In those days, at that time," declares the LORD,
"search will be made for Israel's guilt,
but there will be none,
and for the sins of Judah,
but none will be found,

for I will forgive the remnant I spare."
 (Jeremiah 50:17, 19-20)
Israel was scattered, devoured, and crushed in order to turn them back towards the absolute forgiveness provided by the sacrifice of the Lamb--remember?--who was judged for sin before there was sin. This concept should not be entirely strange to us, since Jesus died bearing my sin and your sin before we were ever born.
Judgment isn't a reaction. It's an initiative. It's strategic and pre-emptive. Call it a strategy of love.
(1) Revelation 13:8; see Acts 2:23; 1 Peter 1:19-20

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