2 Kings 8-11, Psalm 103
One of the most frequent questions asked is: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” But the flipside to this question which comes to mind in our reading today is: “Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people?” Since the beginning of time people are labeled good or bad based on society’s standards. There is an obvious problem with using human standards. If you were a child of a member of ISIS and refused to be a human bomb, killing many innocent lives, by that society’s standards that child would be bad. In our society now if you do not support the current social agenda which normalizes abortion, homosexuality, transgender, etc., then you are bad. We must remember Jesus’ words to the rich young ruler, when he referred to Jesus as good in Matthew 19:17, “No one is good but One, that is God…”.
Realize, by the time we get to the end of chapter 9, Queen Jezebel has lived 14 years in comfort and luxury after the death of her husband, Ahab. She was wicked to the core and led the entire nation into idolatry. Yet it seems up to this point, that there are no consequences for her actions. We must remember that God’s timing is not necessarily our timing. In 2 Peter 3:8-9, we read, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” As happens to Jezebel, as well as many of the other evil leaders, eventually there is often earthly consequences for their actions. Realize God does not rejoice in these consequences, as we read in Ezekiel 33:11, “Say to them: ‘As I live’, says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that all should turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!’ “But even if the wicked never seems to receive judgment on earth, there are eternal consequences. Jesus reminds us, in Matthew 7:13-14 that there are only 2 roads, and those who do not turn to God will find themselves on the broad road that leads to destruction. Jesus also says in Matthew 16:26, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?..”.
Jim Eliot, the martyred missionary to Ecuador said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” We who are in Christ receive what we do from God not because we are good, but because of His grace, in that He chooses to provide us with gifts that we don’t deserve. May we continue steadfast in our desire to serve Him, and never covet what it seems like those who don’t know Him seem to enjoy for a season. God is 100% fair, just, loving. This is the truth that we all should take comfort in. Lastly, not only should we not covet or be angry with those who don’t know Christ and seem to prosper, but since we know and believe in the reality of eternity, we should pray and reach out to them with the message of Christ before it is too late.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: