For God to be merciful to us, he has to be merciless to somebody else.
By Femi Aribisala
What would you do if God told you (a Christian) to attack some people and kill everybody, including women and children? You might decide to pity some of them. You might see a newborn baby and decide, out of the goodness of your heart, to spare him. In short, you might end up declaring that you are more righteousness than God.
Several years ago, God told me to terminate the appointments of all the people working with me. He then said I should tell those who still wanted to work with me to reapply. He told me, furthermore, that two people would not reapply because He did not want them to continue working with me.
So, I did as I was told, and the two people did not reapply. They asked when they could submit all the official paraphernalia with them, and we made an appointment for the next day. Then, I became very sad. I said to myself in my heart, I was not even talking to God mind you: “What a pity that they have to leave.” And God heard me.
I got into trouble. The Holy Spirit rebuked me sharply. “Are you more righteous than God? I said some people should go and you are asking that they should stay in your mercy. What do you know about mercy?”
I know nothing at all.
Judgment of Amalek
When God told Saul to attack the Amalekites and kill everybody, that extreme instruction came out of God’s kindness to Israel. God remembered the wickedness of the Amalekites in attacking Israel from the rear in the wilderness. He was also trying to prevent the Amalekites from attacking David’s people in the future.
Do you know that if Saul had completely wiped out the Amalekites as instructed, they would not have attacked David’s people much later at Ziklag?
“Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had taken captive the women and those who were there, from small to great; they did not kill anyone, but carried them away and went their way. So, David and his men came to the city, and there it was, burned with fire; and their wives, their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive.” (1 Samuel 30:1-3).
In effect, the judgement of God on Amalek reflects the mercy of God on Israel. This is how the psalmist expresses this kingdom dynamic. He says the mercy of the God who killed the firstborn of Egypt but brought out Israel safely endures forever:
“To Him who divided the Red Sea in two, for His mercy endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for His mercy endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, for His mercy endures forever… To Him who struck down great kings, for His mercy endures forever; and gave their land as a heritage, for His mercy endures forever; a heritage to Israel His servant, for His mercy endures forever. (Psalm 136:15-22).
According to the scriptures, calamities occur because God’s mercy endures forever. The psalmist says God killed all the firstborn of Egypt because His mercy endures forever. He drowned all Pharaoh’s army in the Red Sea because His mercy endures forever.
In effect, the mercy of God to Israel is the judgement of God to Pharaoh. Israel knows that the mercy of God endures forever because in one day God killed all the firstborn in Egypt in one fell swoop and spared all the firstborn of Israel in Goshen. Had the two different acts of God not occurred simultaneously, Israel would have been oblivious of the mercy of God.
Thus, the same Red Sea that was the instrument of God’s deliverance of the Jews was the instrument of God’s destruction of the Egyptians.
God did this so both the Israelites and the Egyptians can fully appreciate the mercy of God. Some people were destroyed so that their land may be given to the Israelites. In this way, all men everywhere would fully appreciate the unmerited favour of God.
Thus, God says to Israel: “I sent the hornet before you which drove them out from before you, also the two kings of the Amorites, but not with your sword or with your bow. I have given you a land for which you did not labour, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” (Joshua 24:12-13).
Similarly, God gave me a fellowship that I did not start. He gave me a house in exclusive Victoria Island, Lagos that I did not build. He gave me a school, Nouveau International School, Lagos that I did not establish. He gave me a car, Toyota RAV4, that I did not buy. My house in Lagos is full of very expensive paintings that I did not pay for.
As for you reading this, some people have died of Covid-19 but you have survived, for God’s mercy endures forever. Some people contracted Covid-19 and died while you contracted Covid-19 and survived, for God’s mercy endures forever.
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Therefore, from today, never talk about God’s unfairness again. What do you know about fairness? Who taught you fairness? Is it fair that your name should be written in heaven? It is fair that some should be in the hospital now but you are at home? Is it fair that you can see, but some are born blind? Is it fair that you should know the Lord and others don’t?
Any insistence on fairness would cost you your salvation. The person who insists on fairness, or vengeance, is the person who despises the grace of God.
Therefore, if your father should die, if your brother you have an accident, if you should fail in your exams, if your husband should leave you for another woman, from now start seeing everything that happens from the perspective of God’s mercy.
The word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword. Jesus is both a sanctuary and a rock of offence. He is a sanctuary and a gin and a snare at the same time. This is because for God to be merciful to us, he has to be merciless to somebody else. For us to live, Jesus Christ had to die.
In your life, the mercy of God endures forever. You are born again, you are in the ark of Jesus Christ, for His mercy endures forever. From the ark, Noah must have seen a lot of dead bodies floating on the water and rotting in the sun, for God’s mercy endures forever. You have received what God promised: the sure mercies of David.
“Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off. And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:22-23).