It is not too hard to see all around us ample evidences of godlessness, nor is it easy to know how to pray.
Scripture gives us samples of prayers for both judgment and mercy. Humanly speaking, the less personal impact judgment would have on us, the more likely we are to desire it, as with Jonah’s preference that God visit Nineveh with vengeance rather than mercy. To the extent judgment will in some way negatively impact us or that which we care about, we are less likely to desire it, as with Abraham’s concern over God’s visitation on Sodom, the home of his nephew Lot.
Abraham had a very Godly approach, however. It was obvious that Abraham was personally concerned for Lot, but his conversation with God was in terms of a very humble assumption, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25).
God knows we have vested interests, and He is fully able to sort those out. In the Psalms, David repeatedly asks for God’s intervention on his own behalf. The assumption of our prayers, however, must always be that God will do right, or righteousness, which is the same as justice. We must assume that all that happens is controlled by a just God. Those who react with anger or bitterness at personal tragedy do so because they do not believe God is always good. To believe in a god who only gives us blessings and comfort is to believe in a god who serves us well because we were thoughtful enough to trust him. Such a god is an idol made by man, an image made, not of wood or stone, but of our own imagination.
If we believe God is holy and just, we must believe that all that He does is in the context of His righteous, holy will. Whether we see personal fortune or loss, we must believe that God is good.
Judgment may be part of the unfolding of history in the foreseeable future. Some of this may impact us, and our families, and our finances. Our faith will be tested. The question then will be whether we will be able to say, with Abraham, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
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Topics: Old Testament History