‘ As soon as he finished saying this, the ground under them split apart and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, with their households and all Korah’s men and all their possessions. They went down alive into the grave, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community……..
………… And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.’
Numbers 16 vs 31 -35
Not quite the light morning read you were expecting???
But don’t stop reading just yet.
It gets better.
The old testament gives many instances of God’s wrath – against His children; against Israel’s enemies; against all sorts to be honest.
Time and time again we are told of God’s anger towards His people, and of-course the inevitable punishments that followed.
For the most part God’s wrath against His people was as a result of their disobedience; their inability to live up to God’s expectations – His Righteousness.
There’s a tendency to think that God’s character changed in some way between the Old Testament and the New Testament; that the God of the new testament is a much changed God – more loving, more compassionate and a whole lot more patient.
But is He?
Did He change?
Did He really become more soft and gentle???
The truth is that our God doesn’t change.
He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
He has always been a God of love. He has always been a God that wants the very best for His children.
But He is also a God that is perfect in righteousness; hence the reason Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden
Of Eden. As a result of their sin they were no longer allowed to hang out with God.
Please excuse the slang.
God likes nothing better than hanging out with His children. Sorry, slang again.
After Adam and Eve sinned they hid from God.
We are informed that God searched for them.
Could He have been missing them???
” Where are you?” asked God.
That sounds to me like a God who was missing his children; a God who wanted to spend some quality time with His two favourite people.
During a recent telephone conversation with a friend of mine, I asked him how his baby boy was doing.
“Oh he’s doing great” he said.
Although I couldn’t see him I sensed a glowing smile of pride and joy on his face as he spoke of his son – pure and unadulterated love.
“I’m sure you look forward to playing with him every evening after work, right?” I asked rhetorically.
“In-fact I’m sure you feel sad on those evenings when you get home and he’s already asleep”.
“Yea, but I always make sure I play with him in the morning before going to the office” he replied.
This is the love of a ‘human’ parent for his son. A love that is far from perfect.
Multiply that love by infinity, and we might just get a tiny inkling of the ‘perfect love’ that God has for us.
Multiply my friend’s desire to hang out with his son by infinity times infinity, and we may get an idea of how much God likes to hang out with us. Apologies again for my slang.
Actually you know what?! No more apologies. Let’s call today ‘slang friendly day’.
So leave me alone and allow me to explain in peace!!
The reason God often seems so mean in the old testament is because He is perfect in holiness; and mankind has a tendency to fall very short of that holiness.
Due to Adam and Eve (thanks again guys) – we have a natural tendency to sin.
The only way that God could remove this barrier once and for all was to send His one and only son to die for ALL our sins.
Although judging by the way we think and behave you would think that Christ only died for our first 100 sins.
After that we’re on our own – back to pleading every day for God to forgive us for every bad thought and every bad word; wondering whether we’ve done enough for God to love us again.
That wouldn’t exactly be good news would it??!!
Sounds more like Gosh-help than Gospel.
God’s character didn’t change.
His character never changes.
The bible is a story of God’s love for His children; a story that depicts our God’s desire for the salvation of His children; a story that illustrates our God’s desire to get back to the good old days of the Garden of Eden – to be able to hang out with as many of His children as possible.
Still doubting His love??
Then picture this
You’re the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Yes – it is possible!
You’ve been trying for years to forster a better relationship between State Governments and the Federal Government. Sometimes there’s a little progress but most of the time it’s a total deadlock. But you firmly believe that a productive relationship between State Governments and the Federal Government is key to moving Nigeria forward.
You’ve tried and tried, but to no avail.
Then an opportunity arises; an opportunity to appeal to both the State Governments and the electorate. But due to a history of mutual suspicion you recognise that the best person to speak to them is not you, but your daughter / son.
Yes yes I know, a little far fetched; but just flow with me. Pretend you’re watching a Bond movie or something!
So you send your son / daughter to Lagos to address thousands of people at a rally in Race Course.
However within minutes of the commencement of your child’s speech , a section of the crowd begins to shout insults and abuse at him / her.
The unrest continues to grow and grow, until eventually your child is physically attacked. They drag your child off the podium and start to beat him /her.
Insult after insult
Blow after blow
Your child doesn’t fight back or resist, but rather, assumes a posture of peace and love.
Then they cut down a tree and make him/ her carry it all the way back to the airport – to send him / her back to Abuja in disgrace.
Along the way to the airport people are kicking, punching, insulting, and spitting at your child.
What do you do?
You’re the President.
The army, the navy, the police, and the air force are at your beck and call.
You’re seething with rage.
“How can they do that to my child?
She / he went there in peace – with love. How dare they?!!!”
But you also know that any kind of aggressive retaliation would lead to the loss of many lives, and most likely the complete destruction of your nation. The future of the country, and hence the future of hundreds of millions of people are at stake.
The fate of future generations will be decided by how you react.
I know what I would do.
I would blitz them all!
Sod the country! That’s my kid!!!
The above illustration, though a little clumsy, should give us an inkling of the sacrifice that God made for us; the sacrifice that Jesus bore for All our sins.
What point was there in making such a sacrifice if we continue to wallow in the darkness of ‘works’?
God didn’t change.
He never does.
He is the same God of ‘unconditional love’ that He’s always been.
The victory that Jesus gave us on the cross is an everlasting one.
Victory over sin
Victory over all curses
Victory over poverty
Victory over failure
Victory over sickness
Victory over death
Victory over anything and everything that can hold us back.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have challenges.
It doesn’t mean that trouble will never come your way.
But it does mean that you have everything you need to overcome.
In-fact it means that you have already overcome.
You just have to believe
The battle is already won
God says “My people fail for lack of knowledge.”
The truth we must embrace every single day is that we have victory and success dwelling inside of us.
Christ died for you
There IS NO greater ‘work’
How on earth can you better that??!!!!
He rose again for you
His grace abounds in you
His grace is more than enough for you
There is no greater Love
There is no greater Blessing
There is no greater Victory
Walk in the assured victory of Christ
Have a fantabulous weekend