God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Thursday, March 19, 2015
27 Then tell them, this is what the LORD of Armies, the God of Israel says: “Drink, get drunk. Vomit! Fall! Rise no more, because of the sword I will send among you.”
The five verbs, “drink, get drunk, vomit, fall, rise (no more)” are an example of asyndeton, a way of writing or speaking without conjunctions to produce a hurried rhythm. Here the effect is to describe God’s disgust with sin and his intense command to accept the punishment he is handing down.
28 But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, then tell them, “This is what the LORD of Armies says: You must drink it. 29 See, I am beginning to bring disaster to the city that is called by my name. Will you somehow go unpunished? You will not go unpunished, for I will call for a sword on all who live in the earth, declares the LORD of Armies.”
The Lord will not let the guilty go unpunished. This is the message here, as it is in Exodus 34:7; Job 10:14; Proverbs 16:5; Nahum 1:3 and a dozen other passages. This punishment is coming even to the city called by God’s name, Jerusalem. Jeremiah also said, “The Lord has brought her grief because of her many sins. Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe” (Lamentations 1:5).
All this was happening for good. A lawbreaker is punished to stop his lawbreaking and to make the community safer by removing him from it. If his imprisonment also makes him think twice about breaking the law, then that’s good, too. Judah had to be stopped from its downward spiral of idolatry. For the sake of Judah’s children, the sins of the parents had to come to an end.
When our sins bring loss into our lives—loss of freedom, loss of wealth, loss of a reputation, loss of integrity—the Lord is allowing it to happen for his good. He wants our sins to end, and that is good. He wants our sinning to stop leading other people into sinning. He wants our example of sinning to end. There are countless other reasons why it is good and right and proper for God to let our sins bring troubles into our lives. He wants us to grieve over our sins, to be terrified at the prospect of his wrath, and to repent.
He also wants us to remember his grace and his promises. These things create trust, the trust of faith, which is the other part of repentance. Through this gracious gift of being turned back to God through his law and gospel, he makes us his children, brings us safely into his arms, and continues his work of preserving our world to bring others to repentance and faith.
Thank him for his good work, even when it hurts. His good work means your forgiveness and eternal life.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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