Our text will begin in Psalm 50, but who knows where we will end up!
Verse 22 says: “Consider this, you who forget God, or I will tear you to pieces, with no one to rescue you: Those who sacrifice thank offerings honor me, and to the blameless I will show my salvation.”
He sounds mean, doesn't He? I mean, is this God really love if He will tear us to pieces because we forgot him? But we cannot really argue with the God as He is described in verse 1, "The Mighty One, God, the LORD, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to where it sets," can we? This is one powerful dude, right? He controls the cosmos. I cannot even understand or know what I do not know about the expanse of the cosmos.
How does all this fit together?
I had been taught, somewhere along the way, that if people did not love God, then heaven would be hell whereas hell, a separation from God, would be their idea of heaven. Is that right?
My facebook account was blowing up the day Casey Anthony was found not guilty. Recently I received a request that we (FB community) "wear purple for Cailee's birthday." Was justice served when her mother was found not guilty? ( My aspiring lawyer friend said yes because there was not enough evidence presented although she admits she believes Casy is guilty. She just finds the prosecuter guiltier.)
And then, in evangelical Christianity, there has been a recent controversy spawned by Rob Bell's book Love Wins which resulted in twitter barbs from reformed pastor John Piper and "more orthodox" pastors writing books to tell their side of the story. All this of course while the world watched Christians acting like idiots (sorry, was that judging?). Setting aside all the differences that have emerged since Bell stirred up the storm, I wonder, do we believe that God is too loving for hell or do we believe in justice?
A few years back, a friend asked the group of us sitting in the basement bible study if we were certain we were going to heaven. I said, it's up to Jesus. He was...horrified. I suppose the "right" answer is that I have full confidence in my salvation due to the work of Jesus on the cross, however, I believed, and still do, that the most I can do is accept that whatever He determines to be my fate is correct. I have done nothing to deserve better, and I can think of many people who are better than me. Will my heart be broken if I do not spend eternity with Him? Absolutely yes, not because I do not want hell but because I want Him. But I do not deserve it and cannot demand it or assume it. Having spent time here, however distant we are, walking with Him thru parking lots in gratitude for being able to walk or on the deck praying wrapped in wind that reminds me of the movement of the Spirit or hearing His laughter in stars or just knowing that all I am begins with Him, as silly as these things may sound, are more than I deserve.
I see hell everyday in the eyes and stories of people who are wandering in darkness. Some may find the Light, but we rarely see them at that point. We are something of a spiritual first aid station. It is painful to recognize the hell, that you have been rescued from, in the eyes of another. It is even more difficult to live so close to hell, to desperation, to know Him and be unable to get through to them. I am reminded that, again, it all begins with Him. I cannot unharden a heart, even my own. I could not find God; He found me. He did give me a choice that day that He spoke to me, though. I could choose to follow Him, or choose my own way, but eventually I would need to choose. But it began with Him. It always does.
If I choose justice, well, I am screwed, to put it frankly, so rather than choose it, I would accept it. I choose instead to hide in the shadow of His grace for all time, with as many people as I can fit into that shadow. Good for us that Father is a big God.
Told you I had no idea where we would end up :)