We don’t like the idea of reaping what we sow, do we? We prefer to interact with a very nice, old, grandpa kind of God who sits us on his knee and gives us coins. We love grace and mercy and desire justice and judgement only for people who have done terrible things.
10 “‘Because you have said, “These two nations and countries will be ours and we will take possession of them,” even though I the Lord was there, 11 therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will treat you in accordance with the anger and jealousy you showed in your hatred of them and I will make myself known among them when I judge you.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:12, 14-15
1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
There is a definite message of retribution for actions in Ezekiel’s prophecy. Not only did God treat Israel according to their ways and punish them for their disobedience through their exile, he also punished Edom for its hatred and anger toward Israel. God returned the same measure of judgement on them as they had shown to Israel.
Some people believe that God is not like that anymore. They believe that he has changed his ways and that there is nothing in Jesus’ actions and teachings which reflects this Old Testament God of justice. Now don’t get me wrong. I struggle with some of the things I see God doing and commanding in the Old Testament specifically relating to conflicts, wars, and the granting of the promised land to Israel. I continue to work through these things, and part of that process is to compare and contrast biblical teaching.
Jesus makes some statements in his teaching which seem to indicate that God’s character has not changed. He speaks of being forgiven to the measure that we forgive others. He speaks of being judged to the measure we judge others. There is a warning here that God will return to us what we demonstrate to others. We might also call this reaping what we sow.
We don’t like this idea much, do we? We prefer to interact with a very nice, old, grandpa kind of God who sits us on his knee and gives us coins. We love grace and mercy and we desire justice and judgement only when it comes to people who have done terrible things.
God said quite clearly to Edom that when he judges and issues consequences, God is making himself known. I think this should cause us to pause and consider our own actions. If God treated us the way we treat other people, would we give him praise? Perhaps not. Yet the person we ought to have a word with is ourselves. If our actions are turned back on us as we reap what we sow, we are the cause of any judgement or justice or discipline we receive.
We shouldn’t throw it back on God to question his character…