Merciful Judgment

Whenever I read through the pages of the Old Testament, I see the mercy of God clearly portrayed. But many people see destruction, judgment, and punishment all over the pages. These acts of punishment are preceded by long periods of merciful waiting. God waits patiently for the return of his people to ap pepper relationship with Him. 

In fact, God is looking for an excuse to save, redeem, and provide a way out of the impending destruction. “Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth; that I may pardon her.” (Jer 5:1 RSV)  Even after the search, God could not find a righteous person as an excuse to release them. 

But even when God commands destruction, it is enveloped with mercy. “Go up through her vine-rows and destroy, but make not a full end; strip away her branches, for they are not the Lord’s.” (Jer 5:10 RSV) 

The term “but make not a full end” is soaked with mercy and grace – and most of all, love. God’s kind of love. His love is relentless and everlasting. Even when they continue in disobedience, he punishes them with a strand of mercy. 

This is why God says “But even in those days, says the Lord, I will not make a full end of you.” (Jer 5:18 RSV)

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