Here it is, already March! One of my 2010 New Year’s resolutions was to read through the Bible in a year. I’ve been using the “Chronological” reading plan from BibleGateway.com and it has been working pretty well. I’ve already read through the books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Job. Working through Numbers right now. There was a nice little surprise in this morning’s reading. Psalm 90! It is a Psalm written by Moses right around the time of Number 14-15. In it, Moses puts into poetry how he feels about God. He doesn’t pull any punches. God is too awesome to understand. When God says that there are consequences to sin, to disobeying Him, He really means it.
Today, this rubs a lot of people the wrong way. God should be merciful, they reason. He shouldn’t punish people for sinning. What? Where does that come from? I suspect it comes from the parenting choices that many people are the product of today. So many parents – at best – don’t know how to discipline a child so they simply don’t. There is no consequence to disobedience in a lot of homes today. That translates into a cry of “unfair” when a just and lawful society says that there are consequences to driving over the speed limit, not paying your taxes, driving drunk, cheating on your spouse, and engaging in behavior that is bad for your health.
When we do something that is against the law, against the rules, or bad for our health, there are consequences. That’s what God was telling His people who were traveling from Egypt to the Promised Land. If you do what I command – which you promised to do, by the way – then I will continue to bless you! But if you disobey my commands, then I must punish you.
Sin leads to punishment. But if you’ve heard that God is merciful, then you need to understand that God accepted the ultimate price for our sin through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus did what we couldn’t do. He kept God’s Law perfectly and still paid the price for transgressing the Law – in our place! That doesn’t mean there are not consequences today – there certainly are. But thanks to Jesus Christ we will not pay the price eternally. Through His forgiveness, there is a new heaven and a new earth being prepared for us by Jesus Christ Himself. Today we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and pass on to the next generation a new way to live – in the blessing of God. But there will come a time when the consequences will be no more, and for those who have faith in Jesus Christ as savior, a time is coming where there will be no more pain or sorrow.