Mark Jones - 14.05

1 Kings 14:26-29, Amos 1-2

Judgement! It’s a word we’ve all heard before in multiple contexts. What do you think of when you hear that word? Do you think of hastily formed opinions? Do you think of a conclusion that you have arrived at based on available data and evidence? Do you think of justice?

In the context of today’s passages, the type of judgement being referred to here is around the theme of justice. As we begin with today’s readings we are introduced to the impact of a judgement God decreed on Judah, Israel and theirneighbours. Amos 1 and 2 cover these judgments in detail.

When we look at our readings today side-by-side, I think two things stand out.

These two things are aspects of God’s character that harmonise in a very pronounced way. The two aspects being God’s justice and God’s grace. Today’s readings show us how these two aspects of God’s character are not mutually exclusive, but instead are mutually inclusive. Those mutually inclusive aspects of His character being justice and grace.

For God, He must administer justice, and He does so here in spades. However, He must also show grace. In our readings today we see this most clearly in 2 Kings 14:27 where we see a promise from God that He would not blot out the name of Israel, despite their transgressions. Among their transgressionswere exploitation and abuse of the poor. Israel was operating under a system of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer through theft and greed from the rich. What we see through these judgements is that justice must be administered when wrong is done. On the flip side, we see a promise of grace. God promises to not blot out the name of Israel, theterm blot means to utterly destroy or wipe out. So, God here is making an amazing promise to Israel, to show them compassion, love, and grace after committing something which He sees as being reprehensible.

We can draw an amazing parallel from today’s reading to Jesus. Jesus’ mission on earth achieved the same goal as what we see here. The cross was a judgement against our sin, one that Jesus took upon His shoulders in the ultimate act of grace. It’s not a get-out-of-jail free card, but it is an offer of redemption and a chance to get right with God. Israel deserved their punishment, just as we do for the sins we have committed against God, but in His infinite grace, He sent Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, to allow us to become right with God, becoming His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Today let us remember, that God’s grace is so amazing that He can and does take our sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), and He chooses to remember our sins no more (Hebrews 8:12).

What amazing grace!

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