Friday, 16 February 2007

A merciful judgment.....

Are we good at preaching the mercy and judgement of God together?

I was very struck while reading Exodus 9:18-19 by the mercy of God to the Egyptians even while he pronounces the 7th plague of Hail. He warns and commands the Egyptians to run for cover and flee before it is too late. Notice vv.20-21 (as someone pointed out to me helpfully this week) that the Egyptians themselves (subjects of judgment throughout Exodus) can be saved if they will fear the LORD and believe His word. The foolishness of Pharoah does not necessarily condemn the rest of the nation. Both Israel and Egyptians can be spared if they will trust the word/gospel of the LORD. Our God is not a harsh judge, but a merciful judge who desires that many will be saved. And in the midst of a (terrible) judgment He still exercises mercy.

And, a few chapters on, in the Passover the roles are reversed as Israel, the subjects of salvation in Exodus, are now warned about the judgment of God and the need for sacrifice. There is terrible judgment in the midst of the mercy of God to the Israelites at the Passover. And the condition is the same for them as for the Egyptians - they must heed the word/gospel of the LORD (the meditation of Moses will not save them any more than the hard heart of Pharoah will condemn the Egyptians).

How harshly we preach the judgment of God and how lightly we preach the mercy of God! But it is a severe mercy and a merciful judgment we meet.