The revival sermon is one on obedience. The wrath of God on disobedient people.
The pastor refers to Joshua, chapter 6, and the destruction of Jericho.
The people of Jericho were afraid. They were tightly shut up in their walled city because they feared the sons of Israel. They knew, they had seen and had heard of the parting of the sea. They feared this God they had turned their backs on.
The walls came down and everyone - everyone - even childen and babies - were killed.
God's wrath, His punishment on a disobedient people.
Hard to hear, hard to imagine. My throat tightens and I think . . .
I would be afraid, right now, at this moment, if I did not belong to the Father. If my sins had not been forgiven and I was not one of the redeemed I would be very afraid.
But I was not, for these people did not resonate with me. I'm one of the redeemed.
Then he continued.
On the heels of this victory came a devestating loss. Once again God's chosen had sin in their camp, they broke the covenant, the redeemed were unblessed. Did you hear me clearly? The redeemed were unblessed.
This is when I start to squirm. An unsettling feeling overtakes my zealous confidence. This isn't new; my brain, heart, and soul were not hearing this for the first time.
Disobedience. Delayed obedience. My heart races.
The redeemed punished.
My disobedience lays itself before me and I begin to fear. This God I love. This God who gave His life so I could live. This loving God. When will my punishment come? Today? Tomorrow? Years from now?
A God of judgement and wrath. The part we all want to leave out.
I sit in my pew but in my mind I lay prostrate before Him, ripping my clothes and throwing ground on myself as I cry for mercy. Forgiveness.
My cry is quickly heard for I am redeemed. Peace overtakes me as always when forgiveness spreads itself over me like the cloak of love it is, from the God of wrath who is the lover of my soul and who my soul loves.
My God of love. My Jesus who saved me.
He is hard to fear.
Because of -
This love that has wrapped itself around me and brought me out of the depths of real fear. The fear of death and the fear of worse than death.
If He did not belong to me and me to Him . . .
I would be very afraid.