Have you ever wondered why your friend or family member is experiencing hard times that seem to last forever? It is a high probability that you may think, “What are they doing wrong?” Remember Job? Job’s friends blamed him for being the cause of his severe sufferings. Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” Job 1:8 NKJV. Considering that God spoke to Satan about Job’s righteousness, we realize that Job’s friends were mistaken.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:12-13. We also receive trials and sorrows that are purposed to change our characters, to align with Micah 6:8, Galatians 5:22-23, and 1 Corinthians chapter 13.
It is quite interesting that many believers accuse God of pouring out wrath against other faithful believers during their seasons of suffering trials and sorrows. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”John 16:33. In this scripture, Jesus was giving words of encouragement to His faithful followers [past and present]. And we understand that Jesus is referring only to the righteous because King Solomon tells us, “Good understanding gains favor, But the way of the transgressor [the unfaithful] is hard. Proverbs 13:15
How did the concept of God’s Divine Retribution against believers begin? It is a false concept from our greatest enemy! Yes, Satan desires that we view God as a harsh and unloving God. Because of Lucifer’s pride, disobedience, and irreverence to God, he was cast out of heaven. Satan uses personalized temptations to attempt to make us fall. He is relentless in his desire to turn us away from our Heavenly Father.
With research, I found the philosophy of Retributive Justice as the closest concept to the fallacy of God using “Divine Retribution against the faithful.”
The concept of retributive justice has been used in a variety of ways, but it is best understood as that form of justice committed to the following three principles: (1) that those who commit certain kinds of wrongful acts, paradigmatically serious crimes, morally deserve to suffer a proportionate punishment; [Excerpt] https://stanford.library.sydney.edu.au/archives/sum2016/entries/justice-retributive/
Throughout the Old Testament, God’s Divine Justice was brought against the husband and his family, disobedient children, and single persons [of the Nation of Israel] who intentionally disobeyed His laws. Unbelievers, whether single or families who practiced abject wickedness [paganism] were destroyed. Many [21st-century belivers] have created a middle ground, which is doing what is right–faithful obedience to God most of the time. We have become so accustomed to taking God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness for granted, that we often forget to confess and repent of our sins. Unfortunately, our love of compromise will lead to the consequences of God’s divine justice.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
In reading the book of Leviticus, chapters 17-20, God gave many laws against pagan practices. Although one cannot imagine that people who proclaimed their belief in God and were freed from harsh enslavement would engage in these practices, we realize from the world we live in that the wickedness of evil has no boundaries. Remember, the unbeliever thinks as Pharoah stated, “Who is this God, I do not know Him?” It is the professed believer who renounces sin by accepting Jesus as their personal Savior. Our Teacher, the Holy Spirit, and the Bible provide the knowledge and wisdom we need to learn what God requires, Righteousness By Faith as evidenced by obedience.
Yes, through the Scriptures we find that God uses Discipline and Divine Justice to resolve humanity’s disobedience.
The Sin: Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman. Numbers 12:1.
God’s Disciplinary Action: Then the Lord came down in a cloud and stood at the door of the meeting tent, and called Aaron and Miriam. When both of them had come near… And he sees the form of the Lord. “Why then were you not afraid
To speak against My servant Moses?” So the anger of the Lord was aroused against them, and He departed. And when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam became leprous, as white as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper. Numbers 12:8-10
The Sin: Lot’s love of materialism led to greed for the property that appeared pleasing to his eyes. And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Genesis 13:10
The Sin: And they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know them carnally.” Genesis 19:5
Lot’s Plea for Mercy:
Then Lot said to them, Please, no, my lords! Indeed now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have increased your mercy which you have shown me by saving my life; but I cannot escape to the mountains, lest some evil overtake me and I die. See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. Genesis 19:18-20
Evidence of God’s Grace and Mercy:
See now, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one; please let me escape there (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live. And he said to him, See, I have favored you concerning this thing also, in that I will not overthrow this city for which you have spoken. Hurry, escape there. For I cannot do anything until you arrive there. Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar. The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Genesis 19:20-23
God’s Divine Justice: Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the Lord.Then he looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain; and he saw, and behold, the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. Genesis 19: 13, 24-27
God’s Grace and Mercy for 21st Century Believers
Jesus sacrificed His life that we may have Redemption for our sins. We must not be desensitized to the present wickedness in our world nor the frequency of our intentional sins. Matthew chapter 24 is often used to boast that The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age have not been fulfilled, which is true. “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away.” James 4:14
The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise as some understand slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar, the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and its works will be laid bare.…2 Peter 3:9-10
Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to conduct yourselves in holiness and godliness…2 Peter 3:11
Prayer: God, we are thankful for being alive and well in the new year of 2022. Our desire to live faithfully in obedience is because of our love for You. Please forgive us for our transgressions. Lead us, direct us, and protect us from the snares of Satan. Anoint us with the Holy Spirit that we may have wisdom and discernment. Jesus, we thank you for the sacrifice of your life. As we redirect our focus and worship you this Sabbath, we pray for the blessings of spiritual strength as we seek Your divine purpose for our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen. © 2021 Sonya Johnson, Faithful Fishers, and Woman, You Are Loved by God Ministries