"The Goodness & Severity of God"
BIBLE READING: Isaiah 13-17
In recent years there seems to have been a rise of televangelists, ministers and teachers that teach the goodness and love of God. It is hard to argue with them about God’s goodness and love. Yes, God has been very good to us. Yes, God loves us so much He was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us. However, these teachers omit a very important part of their theology of God. Notice Paul’s words to the church at Rome, “…note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.” (Romans 11.22). It is very easy to speak of the goodness and love of God, but very difficult to speak of his severity and judgment. Everyone loves a God that is full of blessings and goodness, yet it is harder to desire a God that is also full of vengeance and punishment. As Paul puts it to the Romans, you can’t have one without the other; both make up God. In our readings for this week, it is easy to see the severity side of God. Isaiah prophesies to a nation of God who has turned their back on Him and fallen into idolatry and is awaiting impending punishment by their enemies. However, although God is using Israel’s enemies to teach them a lesson, He still lets us know that His wrath will be revealed on all who commit evil. Notice Isaiah 13.11 “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp and the arrogant, and I will make low the pompous pride of the ruthless”. Yes, the love and goodness of God is a prevalent teaching within the New Testament, yet the Old Testament provides for us an example of what can happen to us if we do not live for Him. The severity and vengeance of God may not be very receptive to discuss, but we can’t afford not to share that message either.