What might God’s reaction be to the recent election, with local Maryland voters approving of same-sex marriage and expanded gambling; and Colorado and Washington voting for legalized marijuana-use? With our culture steadily and continually drifting farther and farther from the LORD and His Word, many of God’s people might now be echoing the words of the disheartened prophet Habakkuk, when he cried, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ but you do not save? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted” (Habakkuk 1:2-4, New International Version). As we similarly long for justice to prevail and for the judgment of God to make all things right, there are three different aspects of God’s judgment that will help us put in perspective all we’re seeing in our state, in our country, and in our culture.
God’s judgment is coming. Our culture, our leaders, our neighbors, and even you and I might scoff at the notion of a Day of Judgment by a holy God, but the Bible is clear that “the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch” (Malachi 4:1, English Standard Version). And “behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it” (Isaiah 13:9, ESV). This judgment will come “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9, ESV). For the unrepentant evildoers, God’s judgment is assured because it is He who declares, “I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless” (Isaiah 13:11, ESV).
God’s judgment is here. After being miraculously freed from slavery in Egypt, God’s people cried out to their leader Moses and complained about what God had provided with manna, which was bread God sent from heaven to feed His people. In response to His people’s contempt for His provision of manna and their arrogant demand for meat, the LORD commanded Moses to tell His people, “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, ‘Who will give us meat to eat? For it was better for us in Egypt.’ Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, ‘Why did we come out of Egypt? (Numbers 11: 18-20, ESV). When you or I yearn for what is contrary to what God has graciously provided, He will judge us, our sinfulness, and our arrogance, by giving us exactly what we want. In Romans 1:18, the apostle Paul tells us that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Since sinners suppress the truth about God, His wrath is seen as He sovereignly gives them over to “the lusts of their hearts,” to “dishonorable passions,” and to a “debased mind” (see Romans 1:24, 26, 28, ESV). This is what we see in our culture today as people reject the LORD and grumble about His provision of the living bread that has come down from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, and choose to long for things that God has not ordained, such as the homosexual lifestyle.
God’s judgment came. The comprehensive judgment of God came at the time of Noah when “the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually…And God said to Noah, ‘I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold I will destroy them with the earth’” (Genesis 6:5, 13, ESV). God did indeed make good on His promised to bring the flood that killed all people, save Noah and his family, who obeyed the LORD and built the ark God instructed Noah to build. As our culture and our country daily reflect more and more those days of Noah, Jesus Christ is our ark, our provision by God for salvation for any and all who would obey it today. Jesus and He alone can bring you, me, and the world peace and reconciliation with a holy God because He bore God’s perfect and righteous judgment on the cross for your sin and mine. And since God’s perfect requirement of the Law was fulfilled on your behalf and mine by and through Jesus’ sacrifice, you and I can now not only know God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace; but we can now enjoy His gift of life eternal. The prophet Isaiah said, “But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace” (Isaiah 53:5, ESV). If you or I want to have this peace and escape God’s certain judgment, here and now or in the near future, we must turn to Jesus because “…there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, ESV).