Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | October 7, 2014

“Left Behind” – “Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course.”

Today’s devotion comes from Deuteronomy 9:1-5.

“1  “Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’  3 Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire.  He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you.

4 “Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you.  5 It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  Deuteronomy 9:1-5.

——————–

Today’s Scripture makes us contemplate on God punishing the wicked.  We like to solely dwell on God rewarding the righteous, but today’s Scripture repeatedly informs us:  “It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you …”.  Verse 5.

We read similar motivation of God in Leviticus 18:24-25:  “‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things;  for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.  For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.”

There are two perspectives to salvation.  The first, which we like the most, is that the LORD loved us and seated us in the heavenly places.  See, for example, Ephesians 2:4-7.  The second, which is given in today’s Scripture, is that the LORD hated the wicked and punished them, and in a sense, we were left behind.  We escaped the wrath of God.

“See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.  For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.”  Hebrews 12:25.

“For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”  Hebrews 2:2-3.

“The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.”  2 Timothy 2:24-26.

“For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”  2 Peter 1:4.

“And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?”  1 Peter 4:18.

The fictional book and movie series on eschatology called “Left Behind” portrays salvation as the righteous beamed up to heaven with the wicked “left behind”.  But, today’s Scripture and Jesus’ parable on the wheat and tares and other Scripture should make us contemplate the perspective of salvation that the LORD hated the wicked and punished them, and in a sense, we were left behind.  We escaped the wrath of God.

“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.  But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field?  How then does it have tares?’  And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’  But he *said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up;  but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”  Matthew 13:24-30.

In conclusion, God will certainly gather His righteous and bring them to heaven, so in that sense, we will not be left behind.  But, let us also not forget the just wrath of God, “a consuming fire“, in punishing the wicked and that we escape this punishment not based on any righteousness of our own.  In that sense, we escaped;  we were left behind.

We are called to not only rejoice but also to tremble.

“Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still.”  Psalm 4:4.

“For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;  In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;  He will lift me up on a rock.”  Psalm 27:5.

“119 You have removed all the wicked of the earth like dross;
Therefore I love Your testimonies.
120 My flesh trembles for fear of You,
And I am afraid of Your judgments.”  Psalm 119:119-120.

“Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You;  And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by.”  Psalm 57:1.

“Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;  for our God is a consuming fire.”  Hebrews 12:28-29.

“20 Come, my people, enter into your rooms
And close your doors behind you;
Hide for a little while
Until indignation runs its course.
21 For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place
To punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity;
And the earth will reveal her bloodshed
And will no longer cover her slain.”  Isaiah 26:20-21.


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