Goodness & Severity

There are so many curious things about our Great God – so much paradox in the Story. One of these deep things is how goodness and severity stand side-by-side. This is hard to understand from a human vantage point, but apparently not for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies. For instance, how do we weigh His justice, which is pure and complete, against His amazingly “slow to anger” mercy? And what is His purpose of such paradoxes?

“I will hear what God the LORD will say; for He will speak peace to His people, to His godly ones; but let them not turn back to folly.  Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land. Lovingkindness and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. Truth springs from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. Indeed, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its produce. Righteousness will go before Him and will make His footsteps into a way.” – Psalm 85:8-13

How can Someone so filled with compassion be so harsh? Many people throughout history have stood at this precipice. It is severe. It is hard to comprehend. It brings both anger and fear to so many hearts. And so much promise.

And why did God even choose the Jews only to reject them for their disobedience? And how can we live under such a standard for our own lives? Paul was tracking on this great theme:

“Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.” – Romans 11:22

We will eventually know why we have been birthed into such imperfection. One hard thing for me to swallow personally is the fact that nothing takes God by surprise. So – He had to know what would happen. He is, after all, outside of time. Which leads me to another question. What exactly is God accomplishing through the imperfection all around us as well as the turbulence it brings into our lives?

I have concluded that there are bigger things going on than me. I have heard it said we were created because God needed us to complete Himself. I don’t buy it. It is more Biblically likely (nice) that I exist for the glory of God. If that is part of my belief premise, then my list of assumptions changes radically. What does God owe me? What is my ultimate purpose? What is my path to immortality (if there is such a thing)? Why is there so much imperfection and turbulence in life?

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