In his infinite wisdom God disregarded the lawyer’s desire to a make prosperous living, thus extending litigation ad infinitum, ad nauseum. On at least four occasions in Deuteronomy God instructed Israel to quickly and carefully identify evil among them, then administer appropriate punishment: 13:11, 17:13, 19:20, 21:21.
Aided by hordes of lawyers needing employment and wanting luxury, America sinks into endless litigation. One capital punishment case took 13 years before the criminal paid its price. One Australian man lived 70 years, 303 days on death row before he died at 92 of old age.
What if, like mythical Pinocchio’s nose, every sinner’s would grow an inch for each lie? What if an arm or leg grew shorter each time we sinned? Or, if, like bank robbers, every sin included a dye pack which explodes minutes after the theft, or killing or fraud, bathing the sinners’ legs in red?
No? Probably not.
Nevertheless, the litigious nature of our society, fueled by the American Bar Association, needlessly lengthens the time between arrest for a crime and the trial to convict and its punishment.
God has nothing to do with our delays, though he seems reluctant to judge. He won’t be mocked. Judgment delayed isn’t judgment denied; it’s merely judgment intensified! America remains in the bulls-eye of God’s wrath for rejecting his Son. It isn’t IF, but WHEN, that wrath falls. Delaying it means: his patience is giving us the chance to repent. It also means, when it comes, his wheel of justice will grind slowly and exceedingly fine.
The penalty of David’s sin had two parts. First, the child conceived in adultery would die. Second, long-term violence would erupt in David’s family. In fact, he lost three of his favorite sons by the sword as a direct result of sin against his constituted authority: Amnon by violating Tamar; Absalom by insurrection against his father; Adonijah for pre-empting God’s choice of Solomon.
The question may be: how can forgiven sin be penalized? It’s the difference between suffering and dying. All people suffer in some way when sinning, though they may not realize it at the time. Any wrongdoing is against God’s righteousness and no one commits it without being penalized by God’s righteousness. It may be only a guilty conscience; it may, as in David’s sin, have long-lasting effects on self and loved ones.
However, suffering because of sin isn’t the same as dying in sin. Jesus warned the Jews, John 8:24, that unbelief in him left them dying in, not merely suffering from, sin.
In many ways Christians can testify that God forgives. And they rejoice in it. They also carry with them, throughout life the consequences, as Paul did his thorn, (perhaps from his rendezvous with Jesus on the Damascus Road; perhaps through an unrecorded event).
The glory of forgiveness, then, is that all believers can rejoice in any penalty accrued from forgiven sin because it binds us closer to God in grace, as Paul discovered in II Corinthians 12:7-10. Fini
When prophet Nathan described an unprincipled rich man, David wanted the man’s speck punished. He had no idea that Nathan would blast the plank from his own eye.
And when Nathan stuffed the most comprehensive wickedness into a few words, designed to arouse David’s strongest compassion, and strongest sense of justice, the king never expected to be crucified by his own behavior as the charcoal-hearted villain!
However, instantly repentant, David admitted Nathan’s description: the king a sinner without excuse, without defense, without justification. David said, “I have sinned against the Lord”
II Samuel 12:13. Let us learn to repeat his words when we sin. Without qualifying our repentance or justifying our sin or minimizing our guilt.
Solomon’s birth would be God’s response to David’s repentance. In God’s wisdom, the mysterious forces of genetics and divine intervention combined to create in Solomon the wisest ruler ever to live.
The capture of Rabbah of the Ammonites would also be God’s gift. Life goes on, despite its tragedies. And when Joab captured the city’s citadel—its most secure part; and its water supply—its most important resource, Joab called the king to be its titular conqueror. End Part II
But ahh...warning...that left in place sin’s penalty.
Back to blogging after TOO LONG an absence. In Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare had Benedick say, “...happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending.” Yes, happy, but realistically, not generally the “putting them to mending.” Even the mild-mannered bristle when hearing their faults corrected.
That’s why King David, the most powerful ruler of his age, proved the exception when prophet Nathan raked withering broadsides of wrath on his sins with Bathsheba. David became docile, not rebellious; penitent, not defensive II Samuel 12.
His reaction in three contexts proved him a forgiven sinner, not a condemned impenitent. First, he responded with anger at the abusive rich man. Second, he responded with godly sorrow when denounced as that rich man. Third, he remained a Man of Faith when his child died as a result of his sins.
We may say he shouldn’t have blamed God, since his own sins caused the child’s death. But Solomon later said, “A man’s folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD” Proverbs 19:3. How many people have lost faith in God when he didn’t answer their prayers, or a loved one died; or a career failed due to economic setbacks—or any of a thousand ways we can be disappointed with life but take our frustrations out on God? End Part I
A Highway Through Hell episode had a 70 ton machine mired in a muddy water hole. Al’s three rescue bulldozers had to get close enough to pull the disabled vehicle up, away and from the bog without getting so close to the edge they fell in. They had to maintain their anchor to be rescuer. 4/21/19
Helping sinners escape sin means we get close enough to pull them out without getting so near they pull us in. Jesus modeled what we must emulate. He remained anchored in God throughout his life. As a result he became one of us helping, healing, educating, forgiving—removing the vast catalogue of satanic presence in humanity.
The Master’s life devastates the view that “only if we experience sin can we identify with people sinning.” By anchoring himself in God’s Presence and Love, Jesus remained on holy ground as he reached to snatch sinners from sin’s miry bog.
The fast-moving Lilac fire of 2017 had its origin at 11:15 A.M. a mile south of Route 76 and just west of Old Highway 395. It spread west, blown by winds that roared through the valley westward, burning discriminately, hopscotching its way back and forth across the highway, destroying mobile homes, and threatening a shopping center and houses.
Interestingly, investigators found where the fire started. To this time, July, 2018, they haven’t discovered why it started. They likely never will. San Diego U-T, 12/1/17
Unlike many fires, the source of sin isn’t cloaked in mystery. It occurs when a person is tempted to break God’s rule, law, word or expectation. The person then, “by his own evil desire...is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” James 1:14-15.
We may not know exactly where our sin begins, though we too can often detect its origin. We know exactly where to put an end to sin: Christ’s gracious forgiveness that he perfected in his sacrifice on Calvary. Whenever we fall into sin, or step into sin, or walk up and embrace sin, Jesus can eliminate it. We have no excuse for our sin, but Jesus has Grace greater than any sin we commit.