Judgment, Trial, or Consequence?
Yesterday when I wrote about my thoughts, I said that I was thinking this COVID thing was judgment from God rather than a trial we are going through.
When I wrote it, I was actually surprised how easily those words came from my hands. Today, after prayer and thought, I am not so sure. Do I still believe it could be judgment from God? Yep. Am I convinced of it? Not so much.
Here is why.
I decided to take a vacation. The clamors of the world were so loud over the past 5 months that I needed to disappear and get some alone time with God. I left Friday for vacation, heading into the mountainous areas of southwest VA. Mimi joined me for a couple of days and we tooled around the area looking at antiques and flowers and things, but she left Sunday afternoon and I stayed behind to get some alone time with God.
Yesterday, when I woke up, I started thinking on judgments in the Bible and what they looked like. I let my emotions lead my typing as I posted yesterday.
But then I spent much of the day reading, studying the Bible, and reviewing those judgments in there as well as other times people called things judgment that were not.
And now I am not so sure.
Looking at specific times in the Bible that could be used as a barometer for this being judgment, I started in the New Testament.
Acts 12:23 – Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.
I know, not necessarily the use of a disease, but a judgment nonetheless and, bonus, it has worms eating a guy! But God does use death as a judgment. This one, was more personal than corporate.
Then you have this…
John 5:14 – Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”
Jesus is clearly telling someone to not sin anymore so that nothing else happens to him. But then I got to praying about this. Is this judgment or consequence? This guy was paralyzed 38 years prior. Who knows if it was from his sin or if he simply tripped and became paralyzed. We need more to the story to determine if it is truly judgment that Jesus is talking about here or if it consequence.
What about this one…
1 Corinthians 11:30 – That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.
This one is clearly a judgment. Jesus is doing communion with His disciples and He tells them that if you take communion without discerning the body is eating and drinking judgment on themselves. Then He goes on to tell them that this is why many have died or are weak or sick.
Clearly a judgment here.
And this is a judgment specifically for people who are followers of Christ!
How about in the Old Testament?
Well, we have Job. His friends told him that he was being judged by God. God called Job’s friends wicked and stupid for saying that, though.
You would think that if this was judgment, there would be no confusion about whether it is or isn’t. God is not a God of confusion but of clarity.
One more verse to make a point is in Luke 13….
Luke 13:4-5 – Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
A tower fell in Jerusalem and the people wanted to know if it was judgment on them. Jesus specifically tells them it was not.
So now I am left wondering. Is this judgment? Is it a trial? Is it a consequence? I tend to lean more (today) on the consequence than anything. We are acting foolishly here in America, and especially in our churches, and we are not heeding the sound advice of the experts in their fields and doing what we please. There has to be a consequence that follows that course of action.
Ultimately, though, it is God who is in control. And, one day, this will all be wiped away as we enter rest with Him.