“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
When we remember this, we’ll be more faithful in our ministry of wooing and warning.
What was your first thought when you read the text for today’s Manna, Pilgrim? Fear and trembling? Did you bow your head and whisper, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner”? Did you grow quiet in your spirit and “see the Lord high and lifted up as you cried, ‘Lord, I’m an unclean man/woman and dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips” (Is. 6:1-5)?
Regardless of your response, this Manna is one that’s desperately needed in today’s Church and world.
We know of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” preached on July 8, 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut and how God used it to launch the First Great Awakening in the United States. And, even though his text was taken from Deut. 32:35, it’s clear he had today’s Manna on his mind when he coined the sermon’s title—except he substituted the word “angry” for the correct word “living.”
Could it be that’s the way he envisioned God? And, could it be that his congregation. . .some of whom ran down the aisle during the two-hour sermon, begging their pastor to stop because they felt like they were suspended over the open pits of hell by a single spider’s web. . .also viewed the “living God” as an “angry God”?
The question is: What would happen in our lives, churches, homes, schools, businesses, nation, world, etc., if we also remembered “just as there’s Love in God’s Wrath, there’s also Wrath in God’s Love”?
Dear Pilgrim, could it be that we’ve so watered down the Gospel and focused on God’s Mercy and Grace that we’ve forgotten His Holiness and Justice? Could it be that we’ve so enjoyed singing “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know” that we’ve forgotten the words to the old Gospel hymn that go “There’s a sad Day a-comin’, A sad Day a-comin’, There’s a sad Day a-comin by and by, When the saints and the sinners shall be parted right and left, Are you ready for the Judgment Day? Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready for the Judgment Day? Are you ready? Are you ready? For the Judgment Day.”
If we’re truly saved by His Grace and have no hope of Heaven apart from His Mercy (Lam. 3:21-23), then we should not fear His Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). However, we should neither forget what awaits those who continually reject Christ and care naught for their eternal destiny.
That will only happen if we know why it’s “a fearful thing to fall into the Hands of the living God.” We, who are the Redeemed, know it’s “only by His Mercies that we’re not consumed” (Lam. 3:22a). We know we don’t deserve anything but death and hell. And, that’s what compels us to woo and warn those who travel the downward Road of Degradation (Mt. 7:13-14). Much better if they come to know the living God now rather than later, when it’ll be too late. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you today. Then, talk to someone about Jesus today.
By Tom Smith Morning Manna March 12,2011