Isa. 5.24: People are so predictable. They think they’re heroes, and they’re so full of themselves. Masters of the Universe! They are arrogant with power, but ultimately, what is it? It can’t last, and in comparison with God, it’s pittance. Their destruction will be complete. They ignored the truth. They did whatever they wanted. They lived for self, ignoring the needs of others. And the cap on the bottle?—They were religious through the whole thing. Both sad, and sick.

And God’s anger burns. This makes God seem so violent and unforgiving and mean: “Do what I say or I will kill you.” But these people are ruining the world, misrepresenting God and making people hate Him. They are destroying people’s lives and making them sin (see Mt. 18). God has sent messengers to straighten them out and warned them; he has fired some warning shots over the bow and sent small punishments to teach them restraint. Since He is a fair God, what is left but to stop them?

And so stop them he does. But look how he does it. He uses nations at war. So how can you tell this is God at work? Only the word of a prophet makes it plain. He executes judgment through natural means. You wouldn’t be able to tell that it was God doing it unless you were told. Also, notice that God doesn’t use those who are perfect to do the judging (Gal. 6.1ff). People always accuse that you are not allowed to judge them unless you have no flaws. That’s not God’s pattern. God uses normal people, normal things, normal events to do his work. They aren’t perfect, and sometimes they are just plain awful. We need to see God’s way for the way he reveals himself, not for what we think he ought to be like.

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