Comparing the importance, significance or value of one nation above or below another is an ongoing process. Various criteria are used to measure the worth of nations: the size of the military, gross national product, education, population, employment, agriculture, productivity - and the list goes on and on. But, in the eyes of the Lord, none of these are as critical as the one He would place at the top of His list. In fact, number one on His list would never be included or considered in the “nation evaluation list.” Yet, nations rise and fall on what is most important to Him: righteousness.
Two of the most important nations of the ancient world were Sodom and Gomorrah. Their location was in the most fertile region of the then known world. So, they would certainly have been recognized as leaders for their agricultural products. But they weren’t. They were recognized for their godlessness.
They were not ignorant of the Lord. Rather, they completely ignored Him. They refused to bring God into their lives and weave Him into the fabric of their culture.
As a result of their complete indifference to God, He rained “down fire and brimstone” on them and utterly destroyed them - along with the other cities and villages on the plain and eliminated all life - the people, the plants and even the animals. Nothing was left.
God has not changed. Nations are, have been and always will be graded by God on their righteousness: “On the wicked He will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur.”
Prayer:We pray for our nation, Father, that we will turn from our wicked ways and become a godly people. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 11:6 On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.
Robert G. Ingersoll is recognized as one of the most influential agnostics who ever lived. One night in New York he was dramatically and forcefully giving a lecture that explained his doubts about judgment and hell. When the gifted lecturer finished his address, a man who was very drunk stumbled his way to the front of the auditorium and said in slobbering terms, “I sure hope you are right, Brother Bob. I sure hope you are right because I’m counting on that!”
Few today want to think of God as a Judge. It is much more pleasant to think of Him as a loving, caring, compassionate and gracious Father - which He certainly is - than as a stern judge who will “judge the world in righteousness.” Many would apologize for considering their God in such terms, but this way of thinking is inconsistent with what God’s Word teaches.
And there are many who want to fashion Him after their own likes and dislikes and endow Him the nature and character they would like Him to possess. They want to make Him consistent with their own wishful thinking so that they will be comfortable in their sins. Their god has the attributes of our God in that he is compassionate and loving but they refuse to accept the fact that His attributes also contain wrath and justice. This would mean that there would be no judgment and no punishment for sins. However, our God is a Holy God. But our God, Who “is love,” will one day judge “the world with righteousness and the people with truth.”
Prayer:Help us, Lord, to live in the light of Your judgment and know we will hear You say, “Well done!” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 96:13 For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness, And the peoples with His truth.
There was a time on earth when there were no nations or governments. People did as they pleased. As a result, God's creation – the human race – sank into disgraceful depths of despair. God wanted to solve the problem so He covered the earth with a flood in judgment. Then He put government in the world to restrain wickedness. That first government came from God and every government ever since, has come from God.
Why? Because no one has any authority except from God. Whether those who govern us are good or bad, right or wrong, gracious or greedy – they are there because God put them there. Some use their power to do God's will. Others use their power in an attempt to go against God's will. Whoever serves the people as leaders serve as He pleases with His permission.
Yet, it follows that those who refuse to obey the laws of God will ultimately be punished for their disobedience. Perhaps they will get away with it here, but certainly not in the "hereafter."
"God presides in the great assembly," wrote Asaph, the author of Psalm 82. And he concluded, "He gives judgment among the 'gods'." In other words, if those whom God has placed in positions of leadership as rulers or judges do not rule with God’s laws and commandments as their guide they will face His judgment.
Not long ago, one ruler who was dying cried out, "Now I must face the Judge. This is what disturbs me." We, too, must face this Judge. What will we face on that day?
Prayer:Lord, may we live our lives realizing that someday we will stand before You as Judge of all we have done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 82:1 God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods.
The legendary Babe Ruth was known for stating his opinion – whether wanted or not. On one occasion there was an umpire who displeased “The Babe” and he violently disagreed with one of his calls.
Shouted Ruth, “There are 40,000 people in the stands who know that pitch was a ball!”
“Maybe so,” said Umpire Pinelli, “but mine is the only one that counts.”
Not quite. There is an Ultimate Judge. Scripture declares that “As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God. Yes, each of you will give a personal account to God.”
Paul states clearly that there is a Righteous Judge before whom we play the game of life. He knows each of us by name and everything there is to know about us. He is infallible and impartial and cannot be bought or bribed.
Unfortunately, many Christians adopt or adapt their standards of conduct on what others in society are doing. This reflects a weak faith and a disregard for the teachings of the Word of God.
Since we will all give an account to the Lord for every thought we think and deed we do, we must look to Him for His guidance and His Word for directions.
Prayer:Father, we often live life as if what we do does not matter. Awaken us to the reality that we will stand before You to be judged for everything we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Romans 14:11 It is written: “’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’”
It was a difficult semester in school for little Tammy. Her grades were very low and her fear of being punished very high. Thinking about a way out of her dilemma she asked her Dad, “Can you write your name with your eyes closed?”
“Yes, I think so,” he replied.
“Great!” So, she had him sit at the table, got a pen and said, “Sign here!” as she guided his hand.
When he opened his eyes, he realized that he had signed her report card. Needless to say, he was not pleased and made some appropriate adjustments.
Although we may think that we are hiding things from God, Solomon reminds us that “God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”
We are reminded by Solomon that we are to enjoy life and everything that God has given us. But this does not excuse us or exempt us from obeying God and what He has commanded us to do. We must train ourselves to recognize what is right or wrong according to God’s Word and then live a life that is in agreement with His demands. He has the final say.
No excuses! No exemptions! No explanations!
Prayer:May we live our lives, Lord, with a clear understanding of the fact that one day we will stand before You in judgment for all we’ve done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Ecclesiastes 12:14 For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.
Harold stopped by the gift store to purchase a barometer to inform him of changing weather conditions. When he got home he hung it on the wall in his library. After a few moments he decided to see if it was working. When it warned him of an impending tornado, he became angry and took it back to the store demanding a new one.
Pleased with his new one, he hurried home to hang it on the wall in the place of the one he thought was not working properly. As he turned the corner of the street, he was shocked with disbelief. While he was gone, a tornado came through town and his home was completely destroyed.
Many look at the Bible the way that Harold looked at his barometer: They doubt it or deny it or attempt to distort its message one way or another. But one's opinion will not alter the invitation to salvation or the promise of judgment.
God's Word warns us that “each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.” We hear little about judgment because it is not a popular theme in today's culture. God's Word and promises are as certain as His love and salvation. We cannot change facts – only accept or reject them.
Prayer:Help us, Lord, to accept the teachings of Your Word and be prepared for Your judgment and to live knowing we will stand before You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
One of the great dilemmas that many speak of today is unequal justice. If the person who committed an offense is on my side politically or athletically for example, it is almost a foregone conclusion that “our side” wants “unfair justice” for that one. It seems as though most are more than willing to overlook justice for the “wrong doer” if it will not cause our side or our team to lose in the race for prominence, prestige, position or political favor.
How very wrong in the eyes of God! Justice, in God’s eyes is to be applied equally. He makes no apology or excuse for wrongdoing. One cannot read His Word without coming to the conclusion that “justice must prevail!” This concept is stressed in the Law and the Prophets and in other Old Testament writings. God will not bless or accept the behavior of those who attempt to justify the wrong doing of anyone for any reason in any situation. In His Word and in His world, wrong is wrong and cannot be negotiated or resolved by getting the largest number of votes.
Injustice is always repulsive to God because it is a violation of His very nature and character. He is a just and holy God and to favor one side above another cannot exist in His creation.
“Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent - the Lord detests them both.” One thing to note about this verse is the fact that the words Solomon chose describe the most intense outrage possible to a Holy God. To Him, inequity is repulsive - even if it involves “our team.”
Prayer:Help us, Lord, to see right and wrong through Your eyes and in light of Your Word. May justice prevail! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 17:15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the Lord detests them both.
While some may disagree, there is an obvious difference between “sophistication” and “maturity.” And over the years, the “gap” has grown.
A good example of this is seen in our children’s heroes. Heroes are no longer respected for what they do for others - but how popular they are. Young girls see their “heroes” singing songs that mock purity, justice and decency and dress seductively. Young boys wear the jerseys of athletes who have been convicted of crimes that are “erased” when their “hero” stands up and says, “I take full responsibility for my behavior.” That does nothing to remove the scars from the victim’s heart. We see society making heroes of the wrong people.
Solomon looked out of his window and saw a group of young men making plans for the evening. One of them stood out from the others. It seemed as though he was having a difficult time with his options. Perhaps he was shifting back and forth from one foot to the other or glancing away from the “gang” as though he was not sure if he wanted to participate in their decision.
“I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment.” He was not ignorant nor did he have a low IQ. He was “inexperienced” in the ways of the world and had no one to guide him. What a tragedy.
How many of us see young men and women who have needs like this “youth” - trying to make a decision that will affect their entire life? “Sophistication” implies worldly knowledge. “Maturity” implies wise choices.
Prayer: Lord, so many of our youth need guidance. In Your grace, convict those who can, to step up and help. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 7:7 I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who had no sense.
Nations, like individuals, are destined to live or die. And both face
the same choice: do what is right or do what is wrong. Right choices
lead to eternal life and wrong choices that are not consistent with
God’s Word and His teachings, lead to death.
The Bible very clearly, carefully and consistently distinguishes the
difference between right and wrong, righteousness and unrighteousness.
And this distinction applies to cities as well as to citizens.
Individuals like Abel, Moses, Daniel and Paul took the right way. Men like Cain, Pharaoh, Herod and Judas took the wrong way.
Cities like Sodom and Gomorrah took the wrong way and perished. And
the “international graveyards” of Ancient Rome, Babylon, Media, Persia,
and Ancient Greece also provide historical proof of the fact that:
“Righteousness exalts a nation, and sin is a reproach to any people.”
The desolation, destruction and death of cities and nations are
recorded on the pages of history. The evidence provided by archeologists
to prove this fact is powerful and plentiful. Yet, many refuse to see
and acknowledge the hand of God and the lessons from God that He has
planted in the “sands of time.”
However, to deny a fact will not make it go away nor will ignoring it
excuse any person, city or nation from its consequences. Punishment for
sin is awaiting those who refuse to accept the love, mercy and grace of
God. But those who trust in and live for Him will be saved.
Prayer:Father, whether we like it or not, accept it or not, believe it or not, we will be judged by Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 9:17 The wicked go down to the realm of the dead, all the nations that forget God.
Robert G. Ingersoll is recognized as one of the most influential agnostics
who ever lived. One night in New York he was dramatically and forcefully giving
a lecture that explained his doubts about judgment and hell. When the gifted
lecturer finished his address, a man who was very drunk stumbled his way to the
front of the auditorium and said in slobbering terms, “I sure hope you are
right, Brother Bob. I sure hope you are right because I’m counting on that!”
Few today want to think of God as a Judge. It is much more pleasant to think
of Him as a loving, caring, compassionate and gracious Father - which He
certainly is - than as a stern judge who will “judge the world in
righteousness.” Many would apologize for considering their God in such terms,
but this way of thinking is inconsistent with what God’s Word teaches.
And there are many who want to fashion Him after their own likes and dislikes
and endow Him the nature and character they would like Him to possess. They want
to make Him consistent with their own wishful thinking so that they will be
comfortable in their sins. Their god has the attributes of our God in that he is
compassionate and loving but they refuse to accept the fact that His attributes
also contain wrath and justice. This would mean that there would be no judgment
and no punishment for sins. However, our God is a Holy God.
But our God, Who “is love,” will one day judge “the world with righteousness
and the people with truth.”
Prayer:Help us, Lord, to live in the light of Your
judgment and know we will hear You say, “Well done!” In Jesus’ Name,
Scripture for Today: Psalm 96:13 Let all creation rejoice
before the Lord, for he comes, he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the
world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.