In the The Jesus Who Surprises bible study #3 video, Dee Brestin shares that God is both kind and severe.
Fear of God
She reminds us of how Isaiah was filled with fear when he encountered God because he knew he was a man of unholy lips.
Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Isaiah 6:5 NLT
Even Peter realized his sin when He realized that Jesus was Lord.
When Simon Peter realized what had happened, he fell to his knees before Jesus and said, “Oh, Lord, please leave me—I’m such a sinful man.”Luke 5:8 NLT
God of Love or God of Wrath?
We like to think that God in the Old Testament is a God of Wrath while Jesus in the New Testament is a God of love.
However, Jesus did appear with a whip in the temple and even overturned tables to prevent the people from sinning in God’s place of prayer.
So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle. He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those selling doves He said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father’s house into a marketplace!”…John 2: 15 – 16 BSB
Sin Must Be Punished
Sin is a big deal. Even telling a lie ended in a death for Saphira. She conspired with her husband to say a piece of land was sold for less. The reason for this is because they desired recognition for giving all they received, but they didn’t really desire to give all they received.
This may seem severe to us, but God desires justice and sin deserves punishment. Understanding this makes us fearful of the Lord.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.Proverb 9: 10
God is Loving and Holy
It is true that God is loving, but He is also holy. Because He is a Holy God of Justice, sin must be punished.
But God is also loving because He sent his son, Jesus, to live a perfect life here on earth. Jesus Christ willingly allowed himself to be crucified on the cross so that we could be saved from our sin. Only the Righteousness of Christ can cover us completely. Jesus took away our sin and replaced it with His own righteousness.
The Desire to Be Covered
Ruth in the Old Testament asked Boaz to spread the corner of his garment over her. This act would show his intentions of redeeming her. Dee explained that Boaz acted like Christ, because Christ is our Redeemer.
“Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she replied. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, for you are a kinsman-redeemer.Ruth 3: 9 BSB
But sometimes we try to fix things ourselves instead of running to God to confess. We don’t really want to turn away from our sin and we certainly don’t want to admit any wrongdoing not out loud even to God’s ears.
But for those who do run to God, confess their wrongdoing, and turn away from future wrongdoing, that person will be covered by God’s grace.
Trying to Cover Our Sin Ourselves
We deeply crave the joy of people smiling and laughing. We think they don’t have any sad problems and wish to be joyful like them.
Perhaps we still have sadness because we still are hiding a past sin.
Even church women attempt to cover them with nice clothes. We want people to think we are respectable and carefully craft our words so that we don’t reveal ALL that the LORD has saved us from.
In the Dee Brestin study video #3, one woman shared how the Lord had overcome her “cutting” habit. She feared being open with the other women in her church because they might not approve of her or accept her anymore.
But she realized that by hiding what God has overcame in her life is actually hindering God from using her to reach other people who are also “cutting” themselves. Her past could be used to glorify God, to show others how He is a kind God who is willing to cover her old scars with his perfect righteousness. He sees her scars, knows her name, and completely loves her.
I challenge you today to be open with God and one other person to let them know you need prayer to overcome some area of darkness in your life. If you do not know anyone who would pray for you, please call the 24 Hour Prayer Line at Billy Graham’s ministry # 1-888- 388- 2683. You can find more information at Billy Graham.org