Tag Archives: judgment

God is Worth It All

The Psalmist tells us that God neither slumbers nor sleeps, but neither does God forget. God has an impeccable memory. He remembers everything perfectly. And yet, we often see that writers of biblical books tell us that God remembered people, whether it was Noah or the people of Israel or someone else.  It would seem as if God got busy doing something else in this universe, forgot about those whom He called to His work, and suddenly heard a faint crying, and realized that there were still people waiting on Him to do something.  But that isn’t what it means when we read that God remembered them. What it does mean is that God is about to act on their behalf for their good. In other words, God is about to bless them mightily. This typically happens after, what seems like to us and them, a long period where God seems quiet or inactive, as if He has forgotten them. Not only did it seem as if God had forgotten them, but that He had forgotten all they had done for Him.

Now, as we study this last portion of Malachi, I want us to see that these were the types of accusations Israel is making against God, but these accusations are simply unfounded.  The people in Malachi’s day tended to live by sight and not by faith. We probably can relate to them. It’s hard to ignore what we see and hope in what we don’t se. And yet that is what hope and faith are all about. The writer of Hebrews wrote, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11.1, ESV).  Many of us know that verses, but one that may be less familiar comes out of Romans 8, where Paul wrote, “For in this hope we were saved, Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience,” (Romans 8.24-25, ESV).  Faith and hope are all about living by faith rather than by sight.

The people in Malachi’s day and the believers in our day often have the same issue: wanting to know God has not forgotten about them with real-time evidence. God wanted those in Malachi’s day and the believers in our day to trust His promises. He who was always faithful will always be faithful.

So as we finish Malachi, my hope is that we will see the lie that confronted them and us. Then my hope is that we will trust in the truth combatting the lies which have fortified themselves within our minds and souls. Finally, I hope we will take a look at the proof that supports the truth—mainly because we have something that the people of Israel did not have in their day.

Watch the video for full sermon.

Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

Last week I wrote a blog answering (in part) why bad things happen to good people.  You can read it here.  Today, I address the flip side of the coin answering why good things happen to bad people.  As before, I see four answers that can be given.

  1. God loves his enemies.  Jesus told the crowds during his sermon on the mount, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven,'” (Matthew 5:43-45a, ESV).  The idea of the “so that you may be sons of your Father,” phrase is not a “do this and you’ll be accepted by God” idea, but a “if you are sons of God, you will imitate Him and love your enemies” idea.   How do I know?  The rest of Matthew 5:45.  “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust,” (ESV).  Living in an agrarian part of the world, sun and rain were important for growing crops.  Jesus’ point is that God has a general grace upon all.  He loves his enemies and sends good things his way, just like all the “good” people. (See last point).
  2. God gives an opportunity for repentance.  Good things happen to bad people because God is giving them an opportunity to see that He is gracious and loving and they are wicked and unworthy.  “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience,” Paul asked, “not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance” (Romans 2:4, ESV).  Remember, at one time we were all “bad” people.  “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8, ESV).  God affords his kindnesses not only to us, but to his enemies at large.
  3. God gives more rope.  The more that God gives his love and kindness, and the more that people reject it, the more rope they are attaining with which they hang themselves. In the 73rd Psalm, Asaph is contemplating rather angrily why the wicked prosper.  He is frustrated, “until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end.  Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin.  How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors,” (vv. 17-19, ESV).  As Paul wrote about those who receive God’s kindness, but will not repent, “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed,” (Romans 2:5, ESV).
  4. If only good things happened to good people, then no one would receive any good at all.  As indicated last week, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one,” (Romans 3:10-12, ESV).  Unless God brings good things to bad people, no one would ever receive anything good.  We think our lives are bad and that bad guys’ lives look pretty good.  In reality, if God did not grant good in this world, we would long for the worst of our current bad days.

I would definitely recommend reading Psalm 73.  You may identify with Asaph’s feelings and thoughts.  Then pray that you too will come to his conclusion.