The day started out just like any other day. She got up early and her bare feet walked across the cool clay floor. Today was the day she would turn 8 years old and she was so excited. The town was already bristling when she walked out of the house to do her chores. Her mom smiled at her as she walked by. She wondered what her mother was planning for her birthday.
Suddenly she saw her dad and brothers running in from the field. He ran up to her Mom and said “they are back.” Mom looked worried but turned and smiled and said everything would be okay. The men now were gathering together to prepare to go out and meet the invader. The little girl wondered why this had to happen on her birthday. Why did men have to hurt one another, why couldn’t people just let them live in peace.
Her dad came up behind her and kissed her and said don’t worry we will be back and I have a big surprise for you later.
She watched as her dad and brothers headed down the road with their sword and shields to meet the enemy. The sun was now coming up in the morning sky, there was not a cloud to be seen, and the way the morning rays of the sun fell on the mountains around them was so beautiful. The air was fresh and clean. Her dad turned one more time to look back at the family left waiting. She did not know it at that time but this would be the last time she would ever see him.
News came that the invader was running away, a cheer went up in the town. The little girl decided to go up on the roof to see if she could see her Dad and the others to welcome them back in victory. The town she lived in had over 12,000 people in it. They worked hard and they worked together to raise cattle and crops. It was a quiet life for the most part, but they always needed to keep on guard. Life would just be so much better if people just could get along and let everyone just live in peace.
The little girl heard shouting coming from behind her and turned around in shock. Buildings behind her were on fire and she could hear screaming and crying. What was going on? She felt scared and could hear her mom calling her. She went down into the house and her mother told her to stay here with her little baby brother. She saw her mom go out the door to investigate what was happening. That was the last time she ever saw her mother.
Soon the shouting and screaming were close. She could hear and smell the flames of fire. She decided she needed to get her baby brother to safety and picked him up and headed out the back of the house. That is when she saw him, a husky man running towards her with a sword. She screamed and ran faster, but the man caught up with her and grabbed the baby from her arms and flung it on the ground and then she saw the sword coming down onto her and then it went dark and the little girl was dead.
The whole town was destroyed, all the inhabitants were killed. The invaders who did this were led by a man named Joshua. Joshua by the instruction of God had completely destroyed this city called Ai saving only some cattle.
Sometimes it is hard to reconcile how that the God of Love that we worship could sanction such a tragic destruction of an entire city. To us it doesn’t make a lot of sense. This city didn’t seem like a threat to the children of Israel there were only a few men in it compared to the size of the army of Israel. The children of Israel did not settle in the area that they made desolate. So why completely wipe out grandfathers, grandmothers, uncles and nieces, little children and babies, men and women of all ages? Isn’t this a form of genocide? How tragic it is to hear about events today where whole villages are being destroyed in some parts of the world just because the people who live in them descended from a different ancestor or speak a little different. And yet, this is exactly what God wanted the children of Israel to do is to completely clean of land of peoples and races and ideas that were different from the descendents of Jacob.
When we compare this to the Kingdom of God that is coming on the earth, the very thought that the Kingdom will be a place where those who defile, those who work abomination, those who lie will not have any part in it requires that the earth is somehow made clean from all those who are not worthy of that coming age. Isn’t this what Jesus is referring to when he says that he would “gather the tares and burn them in bundles?”
Some will say, this is not the Jesus we know, this is not the Jesus we preach, and this is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus we preach would never harm another human being. But they drown in their own ignorance for Jesus himself taught plainly that when he returns to this earth He WILL send out His angels and they WILL gather all that offend and that do wicked and cast them into a furnace of fire and there WILL be weeping and gnashing of teeth. This wasn’t just an empty threat to keep people in line, this was a warning that he was giving to the people, pleading with them to listen before it’s too late.
Carrying out the Judgments will be perhaps the most difficult period that Jesus will go through. The One who was sent to save will be required to make the choice of who lives and who dies. It won’t be easy. The house will be judged first and He will decide which of us will be welcomed and which of us will be turned away.
The sound of weeping and gnashing of teeth will be gut wrenching. Who isn’t affected by the sound of some one crying their heart out? And yet the bottom line according to the Word of God is that there will be MANY in the day to come, many who were given the opportunity, who had the chance of becoming part of something eternal, who just because they felt they needed to have that moment of pleasure they will come face to face with the reality that they are one of the ones that will be turned away.
We don’t write the rules. If we did perhaps we would just let everyone into the Kingdom. I could never imagine myself in the position of being a judge and as a judge sentencing someone to death. I don’t even care what they did; it would be a very difficult thing to do. And that is perhaps why it is so hard for us to understand how it seems that the God we worship can bring an end to the life of many people. Life is precious.
And yet we have seen horrible things that men have done to other men. The ways of man can be very violent and through their own selfish desires they steal from, they rape, they murder they destroy other men. And there are many others that are just like the beasts of the earth. Driven by their own lusts and with little or no conscience about what they do. They corrupt the good way with their desires and leave a trial of hurt and pain behind them living just to live and party. And there are others that in their own arrogance speak mighty words against the same God that gives them the air they breathe. They do everything in their power to remove the Living God from their institutions and writings by hiding behind a constitution that was written by men.
Perhaps we can understand God removing men like THIS from the face of the earth in the coming Judgment. Certainly there is no place in the Kingdom of God for such like. But over the past six thousand years, billions of men have been born and have walked this earth. Many of those are now long forgotten, there is nobody at all that remembers them, and they are now no more than the dust of the ground. Many of them never harmed another man, never killed anyone, did not live drunken lives, did not abuse their children, and did not speak against the living God. Among these are grandparents, grand children, babies, uncles and nieces, moms and dads. And yet even though their personal deeds do not justify it, they will remain in the dust of the ground forever.
What those of us who have been called to eternal life by the Living God need to remember is that all men are NOT created equal and there are many that have not received the same opportunities that we have. Some of them never even made it out of the womb. Some died as a young child even before they learned how to write. Others have never even heard the commanded to repent. They were born children of those who forgot about the Living God, they were raised in lands far from the Holy Land, taught a different language, different religion, and different traditions. Is God unfair that He has given some more opportunity than others to be baptized?
Who are we to argue with God? He creates vessels designed for honor; he creates vessels designed for dishonor. He hardens the hearts of some; he softens the hearts of others. He gives to some many blessings and to others He takes away that which they have. He chooses to save some from tragedy while others are left to suffer horrible things. Is God unjust? Not at all for He says “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy”. Therefore those of us that have been shown mercy should be diligent to never ever forsake such a great calling. For we trust that even though we do not always understand the way of God, we trust that the end of the creation will be very good.
The coming Day of Judgment is a necessary birth pain of getting to a day when God will wipe every tear from every eye. It has been spoken of since the beginning of creation. Just seven generations from Adam it was prophesied that “the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints to execute judgment.” Judgment by its very nature can be a very violent thing. The judgment day that is to come upon this world is like unto that which came upon the world that Noah lived in when the flood of waters so violently and permanently destroyed every trace of that time. The judgment day that is to come is also liken unto that which destroyed the area of Sodom so completely that no trace of it now exists. Likewise the world that now is will be tried by fire, and for those living during this period of the judgment on the world it will be a very painful and horrible time.
Some will say why we do we need the judgment. Yes this world has its problems, but men are working on them and overall it’s not too bad. Especially in the early morning hours when sun is coming up in the morning sky, when there is not a cloud to be seen, and the way the morning rays of the sun falls on the mountains around us is so beautiful. The air is fresh and clean.
But all is not as well as it may seem. This generation has killed more believers than any other generation in history. In the past they would torture you and persecute you for your belief – and perhaps you would lose your life but you would keep your faith. This generation attacks the believer by cleverly inviting them to eat of the tree, to partake in the things around them. The fruit is good and tasty, but the result is a loss of true faith and death.
Just think how many have come through these doors over the years, how many have heard the calling of God, how many have been taught the things of the Kingdom of God and then how few of them receive with cordial faith the tidings which are spoken. The numbers that reject the calling of God are staggering. People go off and do their own thing and maybe give God a casual thought here or there, but for the most part aren’t driven by faith. And yet we think the world is okay. We think the times are not that bad.
Can you hear the cries of the hungry, can you feel the pain of the abused, have you been in the homes of those who life has left out, have you walked in the villages where people are hiding in fear, have you felt the emptiness of children raised without love, do you know the suffering of those who cry for help and no one comes to their rescue? Billions of people in this world know these things and yet we think the times are not that bad.
Yes, these words are hard – but what we do here is something that we should not take casually. A high price was paid for each of us. God so loved us that he gave His only begotten son to redeem us. Never assume that that was an easy thing for Him to do. Can you imagine how hard it was for the all powerful living God to willingly let filthy misguided men lay their hands on the Beloved Son and mock and beat him? Can you imagine how difficult it must have been for the Father not to take action against these men as their whips came down tearing the flesh off His son? How difficult it must have been for our Father and God to hear the cry of pain coming from Jesus as they drove nails into his hands and feet and then to do nothing even as the Son cried out Father, why have you forsaken me?
The purpose of this talk to put a reminder in our brain, so the next time temptation comes along and wants us to do something that we know is wrong, we might think twice. It is to put a reminder in our minds, so that when we visit with friends and family who aren’t believers we might find motivation to warn them about the coming things and to share our hope. It is to a put a reminder in front of us, so that we may fear God and keep His commands for this is the whole purpose of our life, till the Day of our Judgment when all our work and every secret thing we do will be made known when we stand before the Son of Man.