Sometimes a person decides, on purpose, to oppose God in a very extreme manner. Perhaps that person attacks Godís people or destroys Godís house. Or perhaps that person deals with a holy thing in a manner that shows complete disgust. Such a person can only expect Godís anger and a terrible punishment. Sometimes the judge is another person (for example, Leviticus 24:23). Sometimes God himself acts as the judge (Numbers chapter 16). In the end, of course, God is the judge of everyone (Genesis 18:25).
People who act as judges sometimes make mistakes. But God never does anything wrong. All his judgements are right and proper.
Godís law told judges not to issue judgements unless there were two or three witnesses. And they could not trust only one witness, because sometimes witnesses speak lies (Deuteronomy 19:15). But God needs no witnesses when he is the judge. He already knows the truth about everyone and everything.
Godís law ordered the judges not to show mercy (for example, Deuteronomy 19:21). ĎMercyí means special kindness to a guilty person. Israelís judges had a duty to be strict. The law (and not the judgeís emotions) must guide the judge's decision.
David once said that he wanted God to be his judge (2 Samuel 24:14). Davidís reason was that Godís mercy is great. He can forgive even very wicked people who change their attitudes (Ezekiel 18:23).
Three men who received Godís mercy were Manasseh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Saul (afterwards called Paul). They all had done terrible things against Godís people, Godís house, or both (See 2 Chronicles 33:1-9; 2 Chronicles 36:17-19 and Acts 22:4). But afterwards, they changed their attitudes. They became humble in front of God. And each of them decided to serve God (2 Chronicles 33:12-13; Daniel 4:28-37; Acts 22:6-16).
These men had made themselves enemies of God. They deserved only his anger and his judgement. But instead they received his mercy.
But we must not imagine that everyone will receive Godís mercy. If people do not change their evil attitudes, God will never forgive them. If human judges do not punish Godís enemies, then God will certainly issue his judgement against them. And then there will be no mercy.
Next part: The worst sins (Hebrews 10:29)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.