When Pat Robertson made his comments about Haiti it ignited a firestorm of criticism from a variety of sources from the White House to Whoopi Goldberg to Rick Warren. Many took issue with Robertson’s content while others took issue with his tone. Few supported Robertson. Whether He was right or wrong regarding Haiti’s pact with the devil will be revealed by eternity. I must say that I am glad that Robertson’s comments struck a chord because it revealed much about how we view God and His judgments. So rather than dissecting Robertson’s comments I’d like to talk about the issue of God’s judgments.
After browsing comments from Christians and non-Christians alike I am once again made aware of the fact that most in the world and in the church have no grid for the God who releases judgment. In fact its not just politically incorrect to declare God’s judgment it is socially and religiously incorrect.
Yet, the Bible is full of passages that identify the opposite. The judgment of God is not merely an Old Testament phenomenon, but rather it is throughout the New Testament as well. In fact Jesus, himself, declared that God’s judgment would come upon Jerusalem and that she would be destroyed (Mat 23:37-38, 24:2). This happened in 70 A.D. when the Roman army under general Titus completed a 3.5-year seige of the city, destroying the Jerusalem temple and killing a million Jews.
Jesus also described the state of the earth in the season of His return, declaring that there would be wars, famines, pestilences and earthquakes. He went on to say that these things must come to pass (Mat 24:6-7). So before we say God doesn’t do judgment, I think we need to re-read the Bible and get a more clear picture of who He is and what exactly He does. My opinion is that we are living in the times that Jesus described will precede His coming. I believe we are going to see many more events like the earthquake in Haiti leading up to the Lord’s return.
We must understand, however, that God’s judgments are actually a function of His mercy, for when the judgments of the Lord are in the earth the people learn righteousness (Isa 26:9). When people turn from wickedness because of judgment events, it could be said that through judgment, by His mercy, they are spared from ultimate judgment, eternity in the lake of fire.
The book of Revelation identifies 21 independent judgment events that are still to come. Jesus himself is the one who is going to unleash these judgments upon the earth. These are truths that should make us re-evaluate what we think about judgment and cause our hearts to tremble before God.
The question then becomes how should we conduct ourselves as it relates to God’s judgment. Here’s three thoughts:
First, we should live soberly and prayerfully, looking to ourselves while crying out for mercy. Joel 2 calls us to fasting, weeping and mourning in light of impending judgment events. We should turn from sin and pray for mercy, knowing that by our sin we have signed up for the judgment of God. God is rich in mercy and of great kindness. Joel said that if we turn to the Lord with all of our heart perhaps God will relent from doing the judgment we deserve and bless us instead. He is just that kind. If people will turn to the Lord, He will release mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
Second, we should refrain from proclaiming judgment unless we have been branded with the heart of the Lord through fasting and prayer. Nothing sounds more shallow than a matter-of-fact proclamation of judgment from a messenger who has not been marked with God’s emotions. The prophets of old proclaimed the fearsome judgments of the Lord through tears and travail. Jesus himself, with weeping, declared the judgments of God over Jerusalem. One who is speaking for the Lord in judgment, will not do it with a smug arrogance, nor a matter-of-fact complacence but rather with a broken heart of contrition. Only after you have been possessed with His heart through intercession are you qualified to proclaim His heart in judgment.
Third, Jeremiah 27:18 says, “If they are prophets… let them make intercession.” Those who see that judgment is coming must give themselves continually to prayer on behalf of the recipients of the judgment. I believe the whole planet is living in the land of the judgments of the Lord. Therefore, the recipients include all of us. Let’s pray and do acts of compassion. Let’s call the earth to repentance, always looking to ourselves lest we become puffed up and arrogant. Through intercession, acts of compassion, works of power and the proclamation of the Gospel, many will find their way to salvation in times of judgment.
So what was the earthquake in Haiti, a judgment, a warning… what? I believe it was a birth pang, one of a series of events that Jesus prophesied would take place in the season preceding His coming. There will be many more. The whole earth has signed up for this because our sin is great. And because God is just … judgment is coming.
Let’s respond with prayer and fasting, with weeping, and mourning. Let’s rend our hearts in repentance. Let’s engage in deeds of mercy and compassion, while proclaiming the gospel and manifesting the power of the kingdom. The days ahead are going to become more and more intense. I pray that we would come to a right knowledge of God that we may agree with His judgments and partner with His heart of mercy.
Feel free to respond with your opinons, comments or feedback, I’d love to hear your thoughts.