(Recommended Reading: Isaiah 5 & Psalm 83)
I had another one of those “AHA moments” as I was reading my morning devotional recently, when I came across Romans 11:22 (NLT): “Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.”
God “…invites us to experience His various attributes in the circumstances of our lives. Sometimes we need to see one side of Him, sometimes another.” (Chris Tiegreen)
On the one side you have God’s kindness, then on the other side God’s severity. Although severity can be difficult to grasp when we think about our kind, loving God, there really is not a conflict. Regardless of whether we are experiencing God’s kindness or severity, we must remember that it always flows out of His love for us. To understand this we only need to look at our own parenting techniques – or, if you do not have children then consider how you yourself were parented.
No matter how much a parent loves a child, if you want that child to develop appropriate social skills and strong survival skills, they must be disciplined. Although there are times that disciple is administered out of frustration and/or anger, the basis should always still be love. Parents want their children to be the best they can be and in order to do that they need to learn right from wrong.
God desires the same for us – to be the best we can be; therefore, discipline has to be a part of our relationship with Him. We need to believe and trust Him that the things He teaches in the Bible are for our own good.
In the Old Testament we can read how God laid out not only the Ten Commandments, but multitudes of other laws. There really was no way that any human being could follow all of those laws. As I read about them, some of them seem unreasonable and harsh. But, it seems that they were there to help the people to be more disciplined; and, there was always a way to repent and find your way back into the good graces of God.
Then in the New Testament we see a God that loves all of his children so very much that He provided a way out – He sent His very own son to earth. Jesus came, shed His blood on the cross – sacrificed for all of the sins of humanity forever. No longer do animals need to shed their blood as a sacrifice for our sins as in the Old Testament, because Jesus gave it all.
God knows that we are not perfect – never have been, never will be. Out of His love and kindness toward us there is a fairness. He does not slap us down every time we make a mistake. However, He allows us to experience the natural consequences of our own actions and/or decisions. Those consequences can be a reminder to us of what is right and appropriate vs. what we chose to say or do. But when we do not take notice and change, then God may start counting to three as a warning.
However, I do not believe that God’s patience is ceaseless. He wants humanity to live good lives and do what is morally right. I do believe that as He is seeing blatant sin continue to build and build until we see so much filth and corruption in our society, that He is grieved and that warning count is going to run out – and soon.
We not only have the Bible as a guide for how we should live our lives, but we have laws that man has created. Those man-made laws are to help make our society at large a better and safer place to be; and, they are to be followed, unless they are in direct conflict with God’s law. (Acts 5:29) That is one reason why it is so critical that we elect leaders that believe in Biblical principles – those same principles that were a guide to what our founding fathers established. The Bible has a lot to say about what our attitude toward laws and our leaders should be:
“If you have no regard for the law, you are on the side of the wicked; but if you obey it, you are against them.” (Proverbs 28:4 GNT)
“When good people are promoted, everything is great, but when the bad are in charge, watch out!” (Proverbs 28:12 MSG)
“People stay in hiding when the wicked come to power. But when they fall from power, the righteous will rule again.” (Proverbs 28:28 GNT)
“Show me a righteous ruler and I will show you a happy people. Show me a wicked ruler and I will show you a miserable people.” (Proverbs 29:2 GNT)
“When evil people are in power, crime increases. But the righteous will live to see the downfall of such people.” (Proverbs 29:16 GNT)
“The good hate the badness of the wicked. The wicked hate the goodness of the good.” (Proverbs 29:27 TLB)
Do any of those verses ring any bells for you? Does any of it sound like what we are living today? It surely rings true to me. There is so much corruption and evil being put forth that it is beyond my comprehension of how ANYone can believe it is okay! So what can be done about it?
Christians – Bible-believing, praying Christians – are the only defense. That is all that stands between all the evil that is being pushed upon us and the goodness that we should be striving toward. The headlines you read and stories you hear these days should set off all kinds of alarms. The evil people in our world today are taunting God – just asking for punishment – and that punishment most assuredly will happen.
Isaiah 5:20 (TLB) says: “They say that what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right; that black is white and white is black; bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.” Again I ask, sound familiar? I would encourage you to read the entire 5th chapter of Isaiah, it points out what the evil perpetrators faced.
I really do believe that God has released some judgement on this nation because of how far we have fallen. It does not appear that many people are “getting it”; and, consequently I hate to think what we could expect in the future if things do not correct and improve.
However, I do not want to end this article on a negative note. We must always remember that as Christians, God is on our side. His power is bigger and better than the power of the enemy. But we must step up and fulfil our share of the responsibility. We must discipline ourselves to be a praying, believing people. Pray against the evil and for God to express His severity on that evil and the evil-doers. “O God, do not keep silent; do not be still, do not be quiet! Look! Your enemies are in revolt, and those who hate you are rebelling. They are making secret plans against your people; they are plotting against those you protect.” (Psalm 83:2-3 GNT) “Make them failures in everything they do; let them be ashamed and terrified until they learn that you alone, Jehovah, are the God above all gods in supreme charge of all the earth.” (Psalm 83:17-18 TLB)
I love the story in 2 Kings 6 when the king of Syria sent a huge army with many chariots and horses to find Elisha the prophet and capture him. “When the prophet’s servant got up early the next morning and went outside, there were troops, horses, and chariots everywhere. ‘Alas, my master, what shall we do now?’ he cried out to Elisha. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ Elisha told him. ‘For our army is bigger than theirs!’ Then Elisha prayed, ‘Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ And the Lord opened the young man’s eyes so that he could see horses of fire and chariots of fire everywhere upon the mountain!” (Verses 15-17 TLB) [Emphasis mine]
So, let us never forget that we should not be afraid, knowing that our “army” is bigger than theirs. Keep your faith strong and keep praying and believing! Continue to be aware of His severity, but at the same time, keep trusting in His kindness!
Written by Karran Martin – May 21, 2021
2 thoughts on “One Side, Then Another”
Karran, thanks for this post. It certainly hit home this week. All of your posts are so good. I shared this one with friends and family. Very appropriate for all of us. Hope all is well with you and yours.
Thanks so much Mary. I was concerned that this article was somewhat disjointed & maybe wouldn’t make sense. I’m glad someone “got it”. Ha! Thanks again for reading my articles!