“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the LORD Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.” Malachi 4:1
“How am I going to deliver this message today, Lord?” This was my prayer this morning as I stared at the text, feeling pressured by the responsibility of presenting God’s Word accurately. “What about the people who already believe that You are a harsh God, that You are slow to love and quick to punish? What will this message do to them?”
I laid my head on my desk for a long time, waiting to hear Him speak in the stillness of my heart. “I will not enjoy doing this,” I pictured Him saying. I felt such profound sadness in my spirit. Then, it made sense. This judgment does not negate God’s love. I cannot, and should not, pit His love against His justice.
How can God be loving and yet one day still judge the earth? Because He will have waited thousands of years to do it. His pattern throughout history has been to plead with people to repent. He withholds judgment as long as possible because He loves so powerfully. His heart is bent to give men one chance after another to turn from evil and seek forgiveness. He made a way of atonement at great cost to Himself; His Son’s life.
This morning, I sense the heart of a great Father.
Oh, that we would read today’s verse and hear God say, “Please, come to me now. Don’t let it come to that.”
I don’t deny You are a God of justice. But, today is a day of grace. May Your love constrain me to share this truth with others. Amen