Monday, October 5, 2009

Consequences before and after death

Isaiah 37:1-4
And so it was, when King Hezekiah heard it, that he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD. Then he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz. And they said to him, "Thus says Hezekiah: 'This day is a day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy; for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth. I may be that the LORD your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to reproach the living God, and will rebuke the words which the LORD your God has heard. Therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.'"

Random Chapter Night!
So Hezekiah was all torn up (literally) about the servants of the king of Assyria. They were blaspheming! Hezekiah seemed to be mourning over this, and went into the temple, probably to pray. He even sent people to tell Isaiah to pray for 'the remnant'.

'The remnant' is the remainder of the people of Israel who God hadn't killed for their sins. Hezekiah was afraid that God would hear the blasphemies and take it out on the few who were still left from His people.

So Isaiah's answer to this question?

Isaiah 37:6-7
And Isaiah said to them, "Thus you shall say to your master, 'Thus says the LORD: "Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed Me. Surely I will send a spirit upon him, and he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land." ' "

God says to not be afraid. Just because they're sinning doesn't mean you'll necessarily be blamed for it. 'Don't be afraid of their words! I'll have My revenge! He'll die while he's in his own land!' (my paraphrase).

But God will punish them for their sins. Doesn't this sound familiar? Punishment for sins...

Sometimes the punishment for our sins comes during our lives, sometimes after. And for some of us, the punishment after has already happened, and we won't be punished for what we did. (aka Jesus). But sometimes we do something that has consequences on this earth, and God will forgive us, but we still have the consequences.

I think it was explained to me this way in a book. 'Let's say you and your boyfriend go too far, and you get an STD. You've asked God's forgiveness, and you've gotten it, but that doesn't mean your disease goes away immediately. You get to take a fun little trip to the OB-GYN and explain to your mom why you got that disease as consequences for your sins.'

Jesus said that it would be better to pluck out one's eye than to sin and go to hell. That whole conversation, the stuff of nightmares, would almost be about the same as plucking out an eye for me.

In His Service,

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