Progressive Comprehension of God
Over the years I have observed an interesting pattern in how people grow in their understanding of God as they pursue His Word. In the first reading of the Old Testament the initial reaction is, “God is a big bully. He completely destroys people for disobedience.” Then the next reading they observe that God had warned them prior to bringing about their doom. The next phase, having warned them ahead of time, the Lord is seen as being very patient before carrying out His judgment.
Recently in a perusal of Ezekiel I saw this process unfold. There is a repetitious pattern. It starts with Ezekiel saying, “the word of the Lord came to me.” That is followed by the announcement, “this is what the Lord says.” Then following the delivery of God’s message the desired outcome is announced, “then they will know that I am the Lord God.” This process occurs over and over.
So in the fullness of time we see that because God is holy, He hates sin. Because He is righteous, He rejects sin. Because He is just, He judges sin. Because He is compassionate, He is patient. Because He is gracious, He restores the repentant. We see His declaration in Ezekiel 33:11 at work. “ . . . I take no pleasure at all in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live . . . “
From a personal point of view the Lord challenged me about being one of His messengers to call people to repentance. Repentance is a neglected and ignored concept in our culture. However, that has been the case since the fatal fall in the garden of Eden. Yet God’s message and plan remains constant. I trust to not lose sight of that reality. I do so with this understanding: There is a price to pay, but the dividends are fantastic.