The Bare Soul - January 11, 2009
God's Recompense, Part II

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "God's Recompense" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on January 8, 2009.

God's Recompense - January 8, 2009

Isaiah 26:9 - At night my soul longs for You, indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

No one likes to feel that they are being judged. Our initial response will often be one of anger. "How dare they!" "What gives them the right to judge me?" In many cases, this may be a totally warranted response. Oftentimes, people may have little regard for us, yet they attempt to speak into our lives as if they did. I once heard a preacher say, "You can't drive a two ton truck over a one ton bridge!" The message behind this analogy is that often "well-meaning" folks will try to tell us how to run our lives, yet these are often people that we have not forged a relationship of love and trust. It is quite easy to get angry when someone we don't know tries to tell us how to behave. Invariably, any "bridge" that is not constructed with love and trust between two persons is bound to come crashing down if there is overwhelming criticism that appears not to be grounded in genuine concern.

Then, there are those we love and trust, like our own family members. Many of us were brought up by a mother who brandished the verse "Judge not lest you be judged" with unequivocal, dogmatic zeal. Mom may not have known many verses, but that was one she could fire off with the unction of a full gospel preacher. It was the weapon she used, and taught her children as well, to silence the would-be assailant that might attempt a so-called "intervention". It is understandable and (as I stated) warranted to behave in this manner if a less than kind intender decides to speak obtrusively into our lives. However, how do we react when it is the "finger of God" placing His holy digit on our life, our family's, our nation, or our world? How does it make us feel when we know God is speaking into our personal lives and we feel that it is less about His love and more about His judgment and His seeming recompense for our questionable state?

Webster's Dictionary defines the verb "recompense" as to repay or to reward. With every action there will likewise be a reaction, either negative or positive as the situation dictates. While human judgments can often be unwarranted, God's judgments or "repayments" are always just and perfectly appropriate. The sad reality, however, is that we are often jaded in our perceptions regarding what are the kind intentions of God's judgments and recompense. Psalm 19:9-10 states: ...The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. When was the last time you actually desired the judgments of God on your life? Most folks shrink from the idea of God judging them and don't regard such workings as merciful acts. However, when one considers God's judgments and recompenses, they can certainly be positive as well as negative. What if God, through His benevolent character, wished to judge the merciful acts that we have shown others by affording us His mercy? What if He desired to judge our charitable giving by repaying us in a monetary way? There are just as many positive judgments as there are negative ones. Certainly, God will judge and repay those who deal with others in an ungodly way. However, even these are righteous and just, as the Lord seeks the best possible outcome by His righteous judgments. He does not deal out verdicts of condemnation while we are still living on this earth, but what He does is use these "kind" acts as vehicles of mercy toward repentance. Romans 2:4 states: Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? Beloved, anytime that God puts forth His judgments while we are still on this earth and in these bodies, it is an act of kindness and benevolence of His longsuffering patience. He wishes none to perish but that all would come to repentance.

God will continue to use the "teaching tool" of judgment throughout our lives to show forth his righteous character. As Psalm 19 states, ALL the judgments of God are righteous and should be desired above and beyond anything here on earth. They will shape us, no matter if we receive them in a positive or negative context for they will always bring life if we will but allow them. We will always have two choices while we yet breathe air. When we see and experience the judgments of God all around us and in our lives, we can either get bitter or better -- we can either get haughty or humble -- we can ultimately curse Him or bless Him for His righteous understanding of what we need. As Isaiah states in the opening scripture, we must embrace the concept of God's judgments being life-giving events. Then, we can truly and wonderfully experience His righteous character that He so desirously wants to impart to us through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

God's Recompense - January 8, 2009

 

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