While reading Numbers I was again reminded of how much I relate to the Israelites in the desert, how relevant the Old Testament is to me today, and the Mighty Power of God.
In today’s readings the people are tired of eating manna. They want meat and cry out to Moses bemoaning their plight–telling him they wish they were back in Egypt. Understandably so, God gets angry. He gives them so much meat it’s too much then sends a plague. Boom.
Many might believe this type of action lives in contradiction to God in the New Testament. We talk about Grace and Salvation with Jesus. We live on the verse “There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). How can we reconcile these two Truths?
First, let’s all admit how much we bemoan at God. I would say at least weekly I whine to God about something or another: I don’t like my clothes, I have a craving for something I can’t name, I don’t want give up a Saturday for service, I don’t understand why friendships can’t last forever, etc… Even if I’m not whining to God in prayer, He knows my thoughts. He knows my heart is beginning to brew against Him and stir into some mirky waters of ungratefulness and pride.
So why am I not given a plague? Why do I receive mercy?
Because God is just and merciful, all at the same time. He is infinitely both and He has always been so.
By His ever present mercy God sent Jesus to die so that His blood may cover my sin. His perfect Justice is still present and has been served because of Jesus. God did not suddenly decided to be merciful and send Jesus, that was always His plan. God did not suddenly decide He was no longer going to cast judgement. A.W. Tozer says it best in his book The Attributes of God when he says (and I’m paraphrasing) God has still cast His judgement and is delaying the execution for the unbelievers. God still put all His perfect justice and judgement on the Lamb of God so that we, as believers, could be given the free gift of Salvation.
Our Gospel reading today in Luke talks about the birth of Jesus and how He brings Salvation! Are you having a hard time wrapping your brain around this whole idea? That’s okay. Most days I do too.
Read the Psalm again and put your trust in the Lord. He is just, merciful, perfect, sovereign, strong, and everything we need.