The Law and Grace. Day thirty-seven...
The verdict against this group of people was in, and the list was long:
- There were those who had committed murder.
- There were those who had treated mothers and fathers with contempt.
- There were those who had forced foreigners to pay for protection.
- There were those who had wronged and oppressed orphans and widows.
- There were those who had desecrated places of worship.
- There were those who had given false testimony in order to get people executed.
- There were those who had committed adultery—even with their step‐mothers.
- There were those who had committed hideous sexual crimes—raping their own daughters‐in‐law and their own sisters.
- There were those who had murdered for hire.
- There were those who had committed acts of loan racketeering and extortion.
If you, or someone you loved, were one of the victims of this bunch of outlaws, wouldn't you want justice? Wouldn't you want an impartial judge to execute a just sentence against this group of law‐breakers?
But suppose you not only had no connection with these crimes, but didn't even know this part of the story.
What if you had only read the newspaper headline:
“Today, a federal judge handed down the sentence for a group of people known as the Jerusalem gang. ‘So I'll empty out my wrath on them, burn them to a crisp with my hot anger, serve them with the consequences of all they've done (Ezekiel 22:31 MSG).’”
If you knew nothing about the rest of the case would you be tempted to consider this judge to be a fire‐breathing, vengeful, and sadistic judge?
By this same lack of understanding is the ultimate Judge—the God of the universe—labeled as a fire‐breathing, vengeful, and sadistic God.
And it is in this context that any mention of God's laws brings about a negative reaction. Even among Christians, very few delight in God's laws as did David (an old‐covenant believer):
Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1–2 NKJV)
And as did Paul (a new‐covenant believer):
For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. (Romans 7:22 NKJV)
God takes no pleasure in the death of anyone.
“Therefore, house of Israel, I will judge each one of you according to his ways.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn from all your transgressions, so they will not be a stumbling block that causes your punishment. Throw off all the transgressions you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. Why should you die, house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in anyone's death.” This is the declaration of the Lord GOD. “So repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:30–32 HCSB)
God is love, and in His love He desires that all people live. He took no pleasure in His sentence against the city of Jerusalem as described in Ezekiel chapter 22. In fact, He looked for someone to stand in the gap before Him on behalf of the land. But He could find no one.
I searched for a man among them who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land so that I might not destroy it, but I found no one. (Ezekiel 22:30 HCSB)
This man who would repair the wall and stand in the gap before God on behalf of the land was, of course, a reference to Jesus—who would ultimately stand before God on behalf of all of us.
Have a good day,