Hello Project Ezra! This week’s reading is 2 Samuel chapter 12, and the focus for our recommended chapter will be the goodness of God. Many of you have likely heard arguments in the past for the vast difference between the angry, vindictive God of the Old Testament verses the good, loving, forgiving God of the New Testament. While there are differences between the old and new covenants to be sure, God and His character have never changed. Those who focus on the angry Old Testament God generally want to argue that God is either not worth believing or not worth worshipping because of His “evil” character, and those who focus only on the love of Christ in the New Testament want a god who smiles at their sin, and will forgive them without question no matter what they do. Obviously, neither of these descriptions is accurate.
In truth, God demonstrates His love and patience over and over again in the Old Testament, particularly in the case of the nation of Israel. Although God certainly did demonstrate His wrath, His patience with Israel was amazing. The nation of Israel was given greater blessings than any other nation on earth, and delivered from attack and conquest many times. Yet even mere weeks after the exile from Egypt, where they saw God work in miraculous ways, they still doubted and rebelled. After seeing God send plague after plague on Egypt in response to Pharaoh’s hard heart, watching the Red Sea part for them and then swallow up Pharaoh’s army, and watching God lead them with a pillar of smoke by day and of fire by night, they could not wait even forty days for Moses to return from meeting with God before they were grumbling and creating false gods. God did demonstrate His wrath, and rightfully so, but when He could have rightly destroyed the entire nation of Israel, He did not. And this pattern repeats itself throughout the Old Testament.
I am praying that this chapter will help communicate several things. One is God’s amazing goodness and patience toward the nation of Israel, despite their rebellion. Secondly, God’s goodness and patience toward us, though if we are outside of the grace of Jesus Christ we are in rebellion just as Israel was, and are just as deserving of judgment as they were. And third, that God will not be patient for ever, and there will be a day of reckoning for those who continue to rebel against Him. And of course, the only remedy to our rebellion and just judgment is Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And there is no greater demonstration of God’s goodness and love that that.
The outline is below. I pray it will be a blessing.
All for His glory,
Tonight I will be reading a chapter for the word of God, from the Old Testament, written prior to the life of Jesus.
If you have read the Old Testament, or heard any of its stories, you may have come to the conclusion that God is angry or vindictive, and thus, if He is real, He is not worthy of worship.
I would ask you to take the time to listen to this account of God’s treatment of the nation of Israel. When you hear of the amazing patience God had with a people who constantly rebelled against Him, you may have a different perspective.
READ 1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 12
God was amazingly good and patient to the nation of Israel, yet they rebelled against God time and time again. This passage is just one example among many.
God sent prophets, judges and kings to lead, guide and warn Israel, yet they continued to rebel.
You and I are very much like the nation of Israel.
God is good, and has been amazingly good to us. He has given us far more than we deserve.
Yet we have been, or are now, in rebellion against God.
Though we may proclaim His name, we very often live as if He doesn’t exist.
Everything we love or desire more than God is an idol, and we all have made many idols.
Or you may choose to deny Him completely, and pretend that He doesn’t exist, despite the evidence to the contrary.
You may say that there in not adequate evidence to believe in God, but His existence is obvious from His creation. On the day when we stand before Him, you will not be able to plead ignorance. You will be without excuse.
The mere fact that God allows our continued existence is evidence of his mercy and goodness.
Take a moment to look at God’s law, His standard for goodness, and we will see that we fall short.
God’s law is written on our hearts. We know when we have done wrong, and our conscience bears witness to our rebellion.
GO THROUGH THE LAW
Anyone who looks at God’s law honestly knows that he has fallen short.
And because of God’s goodness, and His justice, He hates and must punish evil. That is why hell exists.
Every one of us, myself included, deserves an eternity of torment for our moral crimes against the perfect, holy God.
But God performed an unbelievable act of love and mercy toward a rebellious people.
God demonstrated His love in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We were sinners deserving of judgment, and Jesus paid our fine, in His blood, on the
Jesus Christ, God the Son, humbled Himself, came to earth, lived a perfect human life, and then died a perfect death, providing the perfect sacrifice for our sin.
Then He rose again on the third day, and is seated at the right hand of God as our advocate, our lawyer for the Day of Judgment.
So now, if we do as God’s word says, repent of our sins and put our trust in Christ alone for our salvation, then when we stand before God on the day of judgment, instead of seeing our sin He will see Christ’s righteousness laid to our account.
There is no greater act of love and mercy that could ever be done. And there is no greater demonstration of God’s goodness.
Yet God will not be patient for ever. There will be a day of accounting, and none of us know when that day will come.
I hope every one of you has a long, happy life. But in truth, none of us is promised a tomorrow.
There will come a day when we will stand before God’s throne, and will be judged by our actions. And as 2 Samuel 12 says, if you still do wickedly, you will be swept away.
But God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that they turn and live.
It may be that the only reason you are still drawing breath, is because God is being
patient with you, waiting for you to come to repentance.
Do not presume on God’s patience. Repent and trust in Him, while He has graciously given you time. Turn and live today.