Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for September 11th

The Effects of Judgment

The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down on the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

Rev 8:7

What we are seeing here in the judgments of the last days is nothing new. These are commonly experienced penalties for evil, increased in amount to an incredible degree. God has been sending judgments like this all through the history of mankind. There have been volcanic eruptions, meteors falling upon the earth, red rain from the skies, poisoned waters, etc. All these disasters have struck before, but now they grow to a climax. Yet we must not misunderstand them, for they are for our own good.

There are several effects of judgment upon us, since we all experience in some sense the judgment of God upon human evil. First of all, judgments frighten us. They are intended to arrest our attention. Then, because it terrifies us, judgment also sobers us. How many people rearrange their priorities soon after experiencing a natural disaster? They help us reassess our lives. They change our priorities. C. S. Lewis well says that fear or pain or judgment is God's megaphone to reach a deaf world. And so judgments also correct us. They force us to face unpleasant facts about ourselves. We do not like that. But judgment strips away our illusions and restores us to reality. Judgment also humbles us. We begin to see that we really are not in control. We do not run everything about our lives. We are not autonomous creatures. We are not little gods, capable of making anything we want to of ourselves. We see how foolish we have been in the past, that we have made many mistakes when we thought we were right. We begin at last to welcome guidance, to listen to others, and especially, to seek out the wisdom of the Word of God. Finally, judgment reassures us. It comforts us. It answers Habakkuk's great prayer, In wrath, remember mercy, (Habakkuk 3:2). We learn that God does not like judgment either. He calls it, in Isaiah 28:21, his strange work. He keeps it as brief as possible. He gives ample warnings before it gets unbearable. He sends anticipations of it, forceful reminders, that this kind of thing can happen so that we might pay attention and act before it gets out of hand.

All this supports the view that the Bible gives everywhere of a loving God, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy (Psalm 103:8 KJV). Is it not strange that people who do not read the Bible very much almost invariably say, when you talk about judgment, Well, the God I worship is a loving God; he would never do anything like that! But it is the very love of God that makes him judge! God must judge in order to eliminate evil once for all from his creation and bring about the world of universal blessing which men have longed for throughout all of human history.

Father, thank you that even in judgment and wrath, you remember mercy. How beautifully this was manifest in the cross of Jesus. Amen.

Life Application

How has the judgment of God on human evil impacted your life?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Angels of Doom

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