Prayer for the day
Come, we will go up to YAHWEH’s mountain, to the Temple of the God of Jacob so that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths.
Scripture for the day
“Where do bad folks go when they die? They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly. They go to a lake of fire and fry. Won’t see ’em again ’til the fourth of July.” -The Meatpuppets
It’s a pretty grim song, especially Nirvana’s cover version. Doesn’t leave the listener with all that much hope. Yet in the lyrics we read of a very real part of life…the end part. The scriptures are quick to give pictures of hope and love, but they also paint a picture of people who reap the negative punishment for their actions here on earth.
The prophet Zechariah is shown a whole lot of terrible things, but many of the worst are the things that God will do to the people whom he has called, but who have rejected that call in order to serve their own selfish pleasure and desire. God does not deal kindly with those who intentionally and ultimately reject the plans he has for them. This is not capriciousness on God’s part, but a product of his love and justice.
The writer of Revelation has a similar experience of the justice and judgment of God when he sees those who have followed the devil cast into the lake of fire, which the Bible calls the “second death.”
Neither of these descriptions is pretty, and both of them cause us to uncomfortable. Why, we ask, would God be so cruel? Why would he cause this pain and devastation? What we fail to take into account is that this is not cruelty. This is cause and effect. This is not meant to make us triumphant or terrified. This is meant to allow us to see what the outcome will be, so that none of us is caught unawares. This allows us the chance to change!