So we know the goodness of God
Why is it important to know that God is the Lord? Read the Old Testament and you’ll find some version of the phrase, “then they shall know that I am the Lord their God.” He says it when He gives laws, deals out judgment for disobedience, and extends forgiveness for transgressions.
In this three-part series, I’m not giving you specific verses because this theme runs throughout the Bible. Read nearly any chapter of the Bible where God is talking to the people through His prophets and you’ll find this phrase.
God wants us to know that He is the Lord our God. We need to know that God is Lord so we can fulfill our purpose in life. Fulfillment comes not from “finding ourselves” but from finding God and discovering who He is and who we are in Him.
We are forgetful. We get so busy staring at what’s right in front of us we forget to turn to the God who cares for us. This is why God set out laws for feasts and Sabbath, so we remember to remember God. We do this with our annual calendars too. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and even today.
Today marks the 22nd year following the 9/11 attacks. This date rings in our memories because of the devastation that was wrought upon America. The emotion of that season in American history remains fresh as we honor the memories of those lost and those who stood as heroes amid the rubble.
Strong emotion creates strong memories. This is one reason God uses times of devastation and restoration to remind people that He is the Lord. I wasn’t going to start with God’s justice when I began this series. But the timing of this post taking place on 9/11 is no accident.
I’m not making any statement about why 9/11 happened; I’m simply making the connection between powerful emotions and memories. If you are old enough to remember September 11, 2001, I bet you know exactly where you were when you first heard about the attacks. You still recall those feelings of confusion and fear. Like me, you may still get chills when you remember those days. Those who lost loved ones, were living in New York, or were first responders continue to feel the sharp lance of grief and horror. Powerful emotion evokes powerful memories.
As you read through the Old Testament, you’ll find that God provided Israel with so many chances to turn to Him. To follow Him. To listen to His words through the prophets. He gave them every chance to learn and to remember His goodness. Finally, He resorted to executing justice and exerting the use of powerful negative emotion to jog their memories.
Those who experienced the hardest emotional seasons remembered and honored God. The generation that wandered the wilderness and entered the Promised Land experienced both His judgment and His victory, and they honored God throughout their lives because the reality of who God is remained engraved on their minds and hearts through powerful emotions.
But the next generations were quick to forget. Battles won and lost no longer moved them. Why? Because they had the land. They thought the Promised Land could never be lost. They ignored the prophetic warnings. They disregarded the signs. They trusted in the power of their own strength and in the strength of their allies.
And they forgot God. They ignored His goodness and mistook His patience for apathy. They worshiped idols, sacrificed their own children, despised God’s laws.
Eventually, after trying everything else, God resorted to justice. Exile. He removed them from their homeland, the Promised Land. He allowed their enemies to defeat and decimate them. God’s judgment fell on them because mercy, grace, blessing, warnings, and even increasing but not devastating defeats failed to catch their attention.
People either shy away from the subject of God’s justice because they are afraid He’ll look mean. Or they hammer others over the head with it, trying to scare them into certain behaviors. Read through the Bible and you may see the same pattern I found.
God’s justice is real. His judgment is not to be overlooked. But He leads with mercy. He offers blessings and tries everything else before He allows His hammer to drop. He doesn’t want to mete out judgment harshly, but to forgive outrageously. When we continually disregard that He is Lord, eventually, His justice will be done.
And this leads us to Jesus. God’s justice demanded a solution for our waywardness. His laws required payment for our sins. His judgment was about to fall.
And it fell on the innocent, sinless, holy life of His own Son, Jesus Christ. Judgment could no longer be delayed, and He took the nails for us. He stood in our place and let justice fall upon Himself.
Why? So that we would know that He is the Lord our God.
Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus to die for our sins. Thank you for taking the punishment upon Yourself. Thank You that You are just and good and loving and merciful. Help us follow You, not out of fear of your judgment, but out of gratitude for your sacrifice and out of genuine love. You are a God of justice. You are a God of salvation. You are the Lord our God. We love you and praise Your holy Name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spread the spark of hope everywhere you go,
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I want to follow Jesus! How do I get started?
“This is how we know that we live in Him and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.
1 John 4:13-15
If you are ready to join the family of God, simply believe and ask. You can choose your own words or pray the prayer below. God hears your heart, simply confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and let the Spirit lead you.
“Father, I want to be yours. Forgive me of my sins. I believe that you sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die in my place. I accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and thank you for the gift of salvation through Him. I invite the Holy Spirit into my heart and surrender my life to You. In Jesus name, Amen.”
Feel free to spend time just talking to God and sharing your heart with Him. Let Him speak to you and listen as He leads you forward into new life. Welcome to the family.
Need to talk or have questions? Feel free to reach out and contact me.