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October 15 – The Voice of grace and judgment

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. – Matthew 25:41

Then he will say to those on his left, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” – Matthew 11:28-30

Scripture reading: 1 Kings 19:9-18

So what does God think of Elijah’s accusations? He agrees. Israel deserves judgment.

When Moses was on the mount (Exodus 34) God passed by him giving Moses a revelation of Himself. Here in the mount, God reveals Himself to Elijah with four different manifestations: wind, earthquake, fire, and a low whisper. Notice that the first three are destructive, the last one is calm.

What does this mean? The three correspond to the three judgments that God will unleash on His people through Hazael, Jehu, and Elisha (verses 15-17). But judgement is not God’s only Word. Seven thousand will be reserved as true worshippers. Nor is judgement God’s preferred Word. I get this from the contrast between the three and the one. He was not in the three, but He was in the one. That is, though God will bring judgement, he delights to show mercy.

Some years later we find Elijah on another mountain with Moses and Jesus (Luke 9:28-36) discussing Jesus’ departure, His coming death, which was God’s Word of judgement against Jesus. Weren’t there also rocks splitting and an earthquake at Jesus’ death? His death was for His people’s failure to keep covenant and to worship God faithfully. And then a cloud enveloped them and a voice spoke. Was it a low whisper? The voice said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him.” Jesus is the voice we must listen to. Today His voice speaks grace and invites us to come. One day it will speak judgement and will command us to depart. Listen to Him! Now.

Suggestions for prayer

Adore God that the Lord Jesus was willing to take our judgement so that we might hear His voice of grace. Pray that through our personal evangelism and the ministry of Christ’s Church many would come to Jesus instead of bowing knees to idols and kissing false gods.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. John van Eyk is the Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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