Too many of us want it easy. As a result, many leaders are declaring, “God will have mercy. God will have mercy!” And it is certainly true that God is a merciful God. It states that throughout His Word from its beginning to the very end. BUT! But, God is a God of justice. He cannot and will not forsake His just will for the sake of a rebellious people or nation.
Abraham once asked the LORD. “Suppose there are fifty… forty-five… forty… thirty… twenty… ten… righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for…” the righteous? (Genesis 18:24,28-32). Now, God gave Abraham His word IN THAT SITUATION, UNDER THAT CIRCUMSTANCE, He would NOT destroy them. God said in verse 26 of Genesis chapter 18. “… I will spare the whole place on their account...” if He found at least 10 righteous people in Sodom or Gomorrah. Indeed, that’s mercy. An entire nation in that situation could be spared from God’s judgment and wrath, if God could find at least 10 righteous people. But we need to understand two things here in that situation.
1. Amos 3:7 says, “Surely the LORD GOD does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.” Hence why God asked the rhetorical question at Genesis 18:17. “… Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do…”? Now, it was not that God needed Abraham’s permission to do what He had planned to do concerning Sodom and Gomorrah. God had already made up His mind that He was going to pass judgment upon those two cities. Why? He explains His reasoning why in verse 20, which says. “The outcry (the prayers of God’s servants) of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.” God’s mercy had run out for these two cities. The people in these cities had become so rebellious and far away from God that He was no longer willing to allow them any more time to repent and turn back to Him. And now God was ready to act, enforce His judgment against these two cities. Because He had already made His decision concerning them, He asked that rhetorical question, should I tell Abraham what I AM about to do?
At some point, God reveals His plans to Abraham, which prompts Abraham to ask. LORD! Will You destroy the righteous with the wicked? And that’s the point! Abraham wasn’t really concerned about whether God will destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. For Abraham knew that God is a just God. He does nothing out of unrighteousness. Therefore, if God has planned to destroy these two cities and all the people in it. Then, as sad as it is to say this, THEY EARNED IT.
Now, you can go back through the previous chapters in Genesis to learn why Sodom and Gomorrah had reached a point of deserving God’s judgment poured out on these two cities. But to make this easy, I want to compare the waywardness of these cities – how sinful and rebellious they had become and how far they have moved away from God by looking at Hosea chapter 4. Now, I won’t read that chapter here because I have spoken of the verses in this chapter far too many times in the past to rehash its significance. But I will quote this from that chapter, which is some of the same things that Sodom and Gomorrah were doing that made God’s judgment warranted. They (the people of Sodom and Gomorrah) were
These two cities had reached a point of no return as far as God was concerned. Therefore, due to the prayers of God’s people. God sent two angels from His heavenly courts to go investigate the claims that were being made (Genesis 18:20-22; Also, Genesis 19:1-29).
As we go on and read chapter 19, which we won’t read here, we see that the two angels determined the claims (the outcries through prayer) of God’s people were true. AS A RESULT, God enforced His judgment upon these two cities and destroyed everything in them except for 3 souls – Lot (Abraham’s nephew) and Lot’s two daughters.
2. WE GOT TO UNDERSTAND THIS! Two things occurred here. God’s mercy and God’s justice.
So, this brings us to America. Today, it is a nation that has wandered so far away from God. When considering the historical Biblical records such as stated at Hosea chapter 4, these United States of America and its people (the Church, it's political systems, and we the people) have reached the top of the cup of unrighteous acts that are all stated there in Hosea. And when considering Matthew chapter 24, verses 15 through 28, these are perilous times. We see “… abomination of desolation… standing in the holy place…” (v15). As a result, there will be great persecution and tribulation (v21). As much as we want peace and security and we want to avoid any suffering because we want it easy, that is not the path that is set for us according to the Scriptures. JESUS SUFFERED A GUT WRENCHING DEATH SO THAT WE CAN HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY AT LIFE. Now, here is Jesus, the King of kings and the Lord of lords and he suffered. SUFFERED! And yet, far too many of us believe we have some kind of special privilege, a special get out of jail card, an exempt from suffering as Christ did. Many of us really believe that we will continue to see nothing but peace and security. That God will continue to extend mercy to us despite our continuous rebellion nature and state. That it is our responsibility to establish God’s Kingdom here on the earth. Ours? Not God’s? So, if we are to establish His Kingdom – why is there a need for His return? Why is there a need for the rapture?
No, Jesus' exact words were that we will have the same experiences as Christ. In fact, he warns us by prepping us for what is to come. At Matthew chapter 10 he indicates there is a hard road before us. We that are a part of Christ’s rib will be driven to courts for his name’s sake (v17). We will be handed over and dragged before governors and kings for his name’s sake (vv18-19). Family members will betray us to the point that it will lead some of us to our death for his name’s sake (v21). We will be hated by ALL for his name’s sake (v22). Many of us will have to flee from one city to the next for his name’s sake (v23). As a result of these sufferings as well as others that are not listed here, we must endure. That is the keyword - endure. We have to endure suffering. Let me say it the way the Apostle Matthew says it, who is credited for writing the book of Matthew. “… It is the one who HAS ENDURED TO THE END who will be saved” (v22).
Now, the mercy God extends here is that He helps us endure this suffering we will experience on some level. To endure to the end. He helps us to finish our race despite the suffering we will undergo. (Compare 2 Timothy 4:7; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27). So, I have to say this. To those who think God is going to continue to extend mercy to a rebellious nation without any accountability for their rebellious condition, they simply don’t want to suffer like Christ has. They don’t want to drink from the cup that Jesus was willing to drink from for each one of us – that is the cup of suffering (Compare to Matthew 20:22; Luke 22:42). Instead, they want only peace. They want only security. They want only prosperity. They want it easy. And this is the reason why God will extend His mercy once again, for the sake of His righteous servants by cutting the perilous (our suffering) days short. Otherwise, even His righteous servants will not be able to survive it (v22). THAT is His mercy!
Today, there are false teachers twisting the Scriptures; false prophets proclaiming they are speaking truth; and false Christs claiming they are He and have returned but they have no power, no authority, nor can they take any of God’s people home in a twinkle of an eye (Matthew 24:23-27, 29-31; compare to John 14:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:52).
Let’s close this out with this. America has reached its peak in its rebellion. God has heard the outcries of His servants through their prayers asking not only for God’s mercy but also His justice. To make this nation and its leaders, this nation’s Church who profess to belong to God – right. To bring about His justice throughout this nation. God a God of justice who cannot ignore the cries of His people – His chosen nation. So, what is left for God to do? To continue to extend mercy to a nation of people who have not drawn closer to Him but have fallen ever far away from Him out of rebellion and disobedience as time continues to pass us by? Is God supposed to sit around and wait for His people to establish His Kingdom on the earth? An assignment God has never assigned to His people – that is to establish God’s Kingdom here on this earth. God has given us the responsibility to preach and teach the Good News to all the nations with the goal of baptizing them so that they will become true disciples of Christ. So that, the Kingdom of God will be established in their hearts (Matthew 28:18-20; compare to Deuteronomy 30:6; Romans 2:29; Jeremiah 4:4).
This is God’s justice. Allowing each one of us to be a part of His Kingdom and His Body of servants. His mercy is the time He has allowed humans to live out our lives over the years, decades, centuries, in order to make the right choice to live and not die. (Compare to Deuteronomy chapter 28).
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The word of the lord
When the LORD God gives a word, it is for the sole purpose to teach, reproof, correct, or train His servants - His Body, so that every member within the Body of Christ may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). For the LORD has given the Body of Christ apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to equip the Saints for the work of service, to encourage one another, and to build up the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).