Category: Human Condition

Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?

Ezekiel 18:23 (NIV)

I’ve never really given hell much thought. Before I was saved I remember reading books about hell that portrayed it as a place where all of the “cool” people went. When I read the Bible I see it as a dark hot place with a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth with everyone there suffering eternal punishment. There are various interpretations of what hell looks likes but the one thing that I do believe is very clear about it is that God isn’t there.

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Have you ever touched a hot stove and burnt yourself? This well-known trope is often used to describe a learning process. When someone, usually a child, touches a hot stove they are burnt and learn not to touch the stove. If you’ve lived for any amount of time then there are probably many “hot stoves” in your life that you know not to touch again. It’s one way that we learn, from our mistakes. At least, we hope to learn from our mistakes, don’t we?

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“He is in your hands,” King Zedekiah answered. “The king can do nothing to oppose you.”

Jeremiah 38:5 (NIV)

No one holds a position of power without God having put them into the position. Jesus told Pilate this and it is still true today (John 19:11). Furthermore, we know that it is God who guides a ruler’s heart in the direction that He wants it to go (Proverbs 21:1). Because it is God who allows people to rise to the positions they are in, we, the Children of God, need to give them respect worthy of God even when we don’t like what they are doing. You may not see yourself as a king or queen but you too, are in the position that you are in because God is the one who put you there.

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But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Jeremiah 18:4 (NIV)

Sometimes when we’re reading the Bible we might come across something that might seem like a contradiction. Like the idea that God can change His mind. When this happens we have all sorts of ways that we can approach this issue. We can remember “God is no mere human! He doesn’t tell lies or change his mind. God always keeps his promises” (Numbers 23:19 CEV). We also know that His ways are not our ways and that “just as the heavens are higher than the earth, [His] thoughts” are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9 CEV). There’s nothing wrong with remembering these things about God and if you choose to grab hold of these and move on, dismissing what you might think is a contradiction then that’s great! I, on the other hand, since I was about two years old, haven’t really stopped asking, “Why?” The biggest change, though, is that I now listen when I ask the question.

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