Devotional Readings

Mercy and Justice for All

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9.

He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it [fertilize it, as we would say today]: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down” (Luke 13: 6-9). Let it alone this year also. Don’t cut it down yet.

And did He cut it down after one more year? What does the “Let it alone this year” really mean? It suggests today that the mercy and patience of God is almost limitless. “Almost” because we know that there comes a time when mercy no longer pleads and justice must be dealt. But Jesus in His life here on earth gave considerable evidence that God is exceedingly merciful.

The combination of the proper blend of mercy and judgment is one of the things that Christians have struggled with for a long time. We try to figure through all the whys and wherefores of all the possible differences between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. This at times brings question upon the Old Testament and its validity. However, there are equal evidences of judgment in the New Testament. It’s rather hard to surpass the story of Ananias and Sapphira for judgment. There are points that we cannot understand fully in both the Old and New Testaments.

But it is for sure that a father of love will not let his boy hurt his girl without doing something to stop his boy. He doesn’t love his girl or his boy if he doesn’t do something in that kind of situation. We’ve heard a lot of angles in regard to God’s justice and judgment, but there is one great beautiful truth that lasts to your day and to this moment. God’s patience continues. Spare them this year also. Don’t cut them down yet. Give them a little more time. Somehow the mercy and the patience of God blends with His justice and judgment, and we have redemption.

from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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