Sunday, 8 December 2013

principles 3




That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25)

Although our text is asked as a question, yet it is a rhetorical question i.e. the answer is heavily implied  within. Of course the Judge/earth (God Himself) does right and it is a fixed Bible principle in interpretation that whatever God does in any given situation cannot be faulted. If you come to a portion/Bible and  in order to arrive at some kind/understanding, you conclude: "Well…God erred here…He shouldn't have done that!" then your interpretation is not the mind/Spirit of God. You erred. Our text was used by Abraham in prayer as he sought to almost bargain with God in sparing Sodom. Abraham's concern was for the righteous people who lived in Sodom (Lot) and he based His pleading/prayer on this thought: That the Judge of all the earth could not punish the righteous with the wicked for that would not be right. An unmoveable principle. It is unconditional. 3 thoughts: 


A/ The cases of extreme wickedness. Sodom itself (context) is a good example. If were to study the perversions/Sodom - which goes beyond homosexuality - we would wonder not why God wiped it from the face/earth, but why He gave them space/opportunity to repent. This could be said of many situations in the Bible. No one challenges the thought that Adolf Hitler or Stalin is in hell or any of those depots who blot human history. Some even comment: "Hell: too good for them!" 

B/ The cases of poetic justice: Listen to David/Psalm 9:15-17 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.   Who can doubt the righteousness/God in such cases. Is there not a corresponding "Amen!" in our hearts when we see the wicked reap what they have sown? If it were known (or better still: appreciated) that God does intervene in many occasions to prevent the wicked from further inflicting others and does so in such cases of poetic justice, then would God not be glorified more in men's hearts? It is only the blindness of men to the reality that He is not. 

C/ Those cases where God rewards deeds/kindness. Not that there is merit is them, but nevertheless good often follows good. Why is this? Because Judge/all the earth does right. Them that honour me, I will honour  (1 Samuel 2:30)  Blessed are the pure/heart etc., No one doubts the Justice/God in His rewards to those who seek to do His righteous will & who are a threat to none and a blessing to all. With all his faults, Lot was basically a good man and subsequently he was rescued out of Sodom. Even his rescue and especially the aftermath was measured/balanced to reflect his basic position and yet take account of his unwarranted compromises.


"Not so clear to us cases" This is because we have greatly limited knowledge. Our information is limited. Our understanding of why's/wherefore's is limited. Our wisdom as to how best to respond is limited. Sometimes we are too quick to judge and that even of God. Our text should be a brake on such folly on our part. 

A/ Where God withholds material benefits in some cases. Why are their 3rd world countries etc., 2 different valid viewpoints:

[i] Could blame men for the hunger etc., Although failure/crops etc., yet the hunger often stems from greed/government corruption etc., We could sit tight here & refuse to budge.

[ii] Although man is responsible, yet God allows it to happen. Again, we might trace the root cause to sin (Adam) but why do some eat quite well and others don't? Why are some areas of the world relatively safe/prosperous to live in (despite their great sins) and  others not? Ans:- The Sovereignty of God which respects His own maxim: That He must ever do that which is right. No one who argues against God judging sin one way in one place and apparently is more lax elsewhere, ever argues that we should all be judged according to the more severe measure. Underlying argument is that sin should not be judged at all! But not so (text).

B/ It is sometimes hard to understand why (both inside/Bible & outside) why infants often perish for the sins/fathers. Whole Canaanite/Amalakite families., were all to be wiped out.
Ans:- Every child born is born in sin, so strictly speaking there are no innocents. True: innocent of actual sin, but Adam's guilt is imputed to every single one born/woman.  However, it is believed, not least on the basis/text, that any human being to fails to reach the age/understanding/accountability is covered by the redeeming blood/Jesus Christ. We just have to stand back and take these words by faith. 

C/ Those passages which teach that God withheld spiritual benefits. A classic example is: Matthew 11:20-21 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But they weren't. Repentance had been withheld from these people. Not given the privileges of others. Perished in their sins. Why does God not deal with each sinner separately and equally? What if He did and damned us all as we richly deserve in Hell? No man is in Hell who does not deserve to be there. There are no innocent sufferers in hell. Wonder is not that God hated Esau… Rather: That He should ever love Jacob. 


A/ God must always do right for He is inherently righteous. High Priestly prayer: O righteous Father (John 17:25)  Again: There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is  none beside me. (Isaiah 45:21)  In God: no darkness (unrighteousness) at all. 

B/ It is not for us with our severe sin inflicted limitations to judge God as to what is/is not righteous. Israel tried that in Ezekiel 18:25 Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? How can sinful men sit in judgement over God? Who do we think we are? 

C/ As indicated above, such a text requires and indeed often tests our faith. That cannot be a bad thing. What must it be like then to get/Heaven and to see how even the most appalling incidents redounded to the glory/God? As they will: God makes the wrath of man to praise Him (Psalm 76:10)  Not for us to run too far ahead. Only when the final story is told can we come to a conclusion. 

D/ The wicked themselves when dealt with by God never rightly complain. True, Cain complained: My punishment is greater than I can bear but this compliant was totally unwarranted. Had God dealt with him there and then as he had dealt with Abel, then the punishment would have been ultimate and immediate. Consider: Rich man/Hell never once complained on injustice. Judas never complained of injustice. 

In closing: Our text encourages us to be content with such things as we have. None/us are worthy (as Jacob said) even of the least of God's mercies (Genesis 32:10) and yet they are new each morning. God does no man any wrong. If He should mark our iniquities, then who should stand? Heaven would be a pretty empty place. Whenever you read the Bible and you come to things hard to be understood, then never violate our text. Better to suspend an answer than to charge God with any folly/sin.  


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