Culpae poenae con esto
“Let the punishment fit the crime.”
God is so merciful. If you’d have seen Him in the Old Testament (as had Job), you might’ve come away with a harsh, black-and-white relief of His character and personality and person. Granted, the Old Testament figures whom God called and chose and used truly knew Him. And to know Him is to love Him. Also, He is the same now as He’s always been. But if one’s heart is not right with God, they may well miss out on His soft, gooey center for all the inhospitable and outrageous dealings He had with those who crossed the line–and got what they deserved.
“And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, and slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of evil.” (Jonah 4:2)
Look at Jonah. He presumes to know all about God and as such, decides to run away. But when he tells God He’s “slow to anger”, if you step back and think on it, when God is angry, it’s because of days and months and years and years of wrongdoing, not taking the slightest instance or moment to acknowledge the more savory and salutary aspects of who He is. Ignoring Him for but a moment will cascade and if left unchecked, will turn into an avalanche. This is God speaking to Job (40:7;41:10-11, emphases mine):
“Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.”
“None is so fierce that dare stir him up (regarding “Leviathan”): who then is able to stand before me? Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.”
After which, Job answers with a tone befitting one who has seen God (at least in a measure) and therefore can speak intelligently on the matter (42:4-6): “Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare Thou unto me. I heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Here’s the thing. We will never be able to bring more than that which we are, to the table. God has…designed (?) it thus. If we wander around on this world through the channels in which we’re accustomed, thinking, however subconsciously (seriously, unless God shows up and shows you, you don’t have access to the thing that’s keeping you from Him) that we can do something for God and somehow circumnavigate the way of Jesus Christ, we will miss the feast. We’ll be without, whether we’re looking in or not. God doesn’t want anyone left out. This is the Gospel. This is what Jesus came to show and reveal and live and make available. The table has been set and you’ve been invited. A seat is reserved and a placard with your name rests on the linen. But what about the judgment of God? What about the consequences of our actions? What about it? It has all been forgiven, once and for all and for all time. This promise runs so counter to human reasoning that something, called faith, is necessary to understand it. Jesus has invited you, how could you turn Him down?
“And when the King came in to see the guests, He saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And He saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the King to the servants, Bind him hand and food, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:11-14)
If you’ve accepted the Lord, you’re chosen. Simple as that. Say, “Grace”. Eat up.