A Special People

Day 359

Prayer for the day

Your statutes have been like songs to me wherever I have lived as a stranger.

Scripture for the day

Zephaniah 1-3, Revelation 16

It doesn’t really seem fair to us that God has a special people. What’s so great, we ask, about the Israelites, that God would choose them, that God would bless them, that God would pay attention tot hem more than all the other people of the earth? Why do they get to be the apple of God’s eye?

In the book of Zephaniah, God punishes those who have been unkind to the people of Israel. Because they have been unkind, God says, they will suffer. They will see the wrath of God poured out on them because they hurt the people of God, because they didn’t see or refused to acknowledge God’s ownership of God’s people.

While this may seem tremendously unfair, we also see in Zephaniah that the Lord’s people are not held to be guiltless either. They are punished not for abusing their own neighbours, but for failing to live in such a way that their neighbours would recognize them as the people of God. Because they failed in their task, they caused their neighbours to fail as well!

In the book of Revelation, one of the bowls of God’s wrath is poured out because those who are being afflicted were violent toward the people of God, particularly the prophets. The justice of God rolls down on those who have not heeded his words, and instead have hurt and killed those who spoke them.

Is God playing favourites, or is it simply that God has assigned tasks to each, and when each fails in the task set, the punishment fits the crime, so to speak? God is certainly not unjust, and so we believe that the discipline, the punishment, and the wrath meted out are appropriate to the sin, rather than God playing favourites.

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