Mercy, Compassion, Wrath & Justice


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This past Sunday, Pastor Donnell continued his explication of the life of Abraham and Sarah in the book of Genesis.  This week, he focused on Abraham’s interaction with God concerning the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.  In the story, God decides to destroy several cities in “the plain” because of the evil which they commit.  Abraham negotiates with God to put off the destruction if there are at least ten righteous people in Sodom.  God agrees.  But in the end, there aren’t ten righteous in the town, so God destroys the city. But God still saves Lot and his family, providing a safe haven to which they could flee the destruction. Yet the story was still not finished.  Lot and his family are told to not look back upon Sodom when they flee.  But Lots wife looks back, as is turned into a pillar of salt (i.e., wasn’t able to flee to safety).

Pastor Donnell made several observations from this story.  Among these, he noted that God hear the cry of the poor and oppressed, was slow to anger, and even in his wrath was still concerned for the righteous.  Pastor Donnell also noted that we find it easy to think of ourselves as being among the “righteous”, but are we sure that no one is crying out to God against us?

The prophet Ezekiel describes the sin of Sodom:

49“ ‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. (Ezekiel 16:49-50)

The heart of God is clearly described in the Bible:

Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.  Exodus 22:22

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.  Deuteronomy 10:18

When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back to get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.  Deuteronomy 24:19

Cursed is the man who withholds justice from the alien, the fatherless or the widow. Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”  Deuteronomy 27:19

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.  Psalm 68:5

The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.  Psalm 146:9

This week, we encourage you to read these Scripture passages daily, preferably in the morning before you start your day.  Be open to whoever or whatever situation comes to mind as you read them.  If you find yourself longing for God’s justice for certain people, share that feeling with God. You might ask for God to stoke the fires of that feeling even more.  You might ask God what he is doing about the situation right now.  If you find yourself resisting or coming up with counter arguments or simply have “What about …?” questions about what you are reading, share these with God.  Ask him to reveal his heart to you. What are his primary concerns?

From your prayer, take one thought or feeling with you for the rest of your day.  Try to be aware of situations you are in or simply situations that you hear about or which simply come to mind during the day that are related to the above Scripture passages.  If you notice any, try to be aware of God’s presence and his potential concern for the poor, the alien, the oppressed, the simply unfortunate.  See if your feelings about such people change throughout the week.

Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing:

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