38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
there will be no future for the wicked. Psalm 37:38
If you’ve ever met someone who jokes about going to Hell, you’ve met someone who does not understand Hell even a little. There is nothing remotely funny about an eternal Hell, and those who say they’ll be partying hard there are in for a very big surprise. Forget the flames and sulfur for a moment. There will be chaos and tumult and gnashing and envy and strife like nothing you’ve ever seen here on earth. Most importantly, though, the presence of God will NOT be there as a means of intervention. (Psalm 139:8 suggests He might be there in some form).
People will cry out but will not be heard by God. Instead there will be constant derision and mocking. After all, those who are there made a choice not to accept Christ’s salvation. The pride of those who thumbed their noses at God will be on full display. It will not be pretty.
So, what’s the takeaway today? We need to be very careful not to jest about an eternal Hell, even among ourselves. It’s not a funny place.
37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
a future awaits those who seek peace. Psalm 37:37
King David recognizes that there are men and women in the world who are worth observing and emulating. They have special gifts to offer us just by their actions.
Similarly, we can certainly be those people that others observe and emulate.
Is there anything preventing us from becoming these people? We have the same Holy Spirit to help us and the same Bible to guide us, so where’s the bottleneck?
35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a luxuriant native tree,
36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found. Psalm 37:35-36
We shake our heads as the sudden rise of powerful and wicked people. Choose any government in the world that has seized power via a militant coup d’tat. The leadership there is very short-lived, for “those who live by the sword die by the sword.” The people under them must endure tyranny and ruthless behavior, and unfortunately the people who replace them may not be kinder on the people.
I don’t think we fully comprehend how we in the West have been able to enjoy relative peace and prosperity. We don’t know brutal dictators except what we see in pictures. The photos of their brutality is often on display for all to see if we choose. We have relatively peaceful elections. No violence. No major hostilities among participants.
Thank God today for that peace we enjoy. It certainly didn’t come to us without God offering his stamp of approval on it.
34 Hope in the Lord
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are destroyed, you will see it. Psalm 37:34
I ended yesterday’s devotional with a plea for mercy from God and a prayer for the 550 Coptic Christian girls in Egypt who have been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam and marry since 2011. It still makes me ill when I think about it. Do they have no voice in the West? Does no one hear their cries in the night? Yes, they are, for the most part, faceless and nameless, but they are part of the Faith.
We don’t know they and they don’t know us. We have no idea what they have been through and what they are going through even as I write this.
Sadly, Egypt is not the only Muslim nation to do this, just the one that was reported on.
We feel helpless for these girls, but certainly not powerless. There is hope in a just and loving God. Would you pray for these girls. You don’t know them and neither do I. Perhaps we never will.
Pray for them as you would pray for your own teen age daughter. You’ll know how to pray.