PAY BACK TME IS COMING
Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, ‘Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion? How long must this go on?’ Will not your creditors suddenly arise? Will they not wake up and make you tremble? Then you will become their prey. Because you have plundered many nations, the people who are left will plunder you. For you have shed human blood; you have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them. (Hab. 2: 6-8).
Who says that God is indifferent to what goes on in the world?
I wish that the greedy politicians and civil servants, yes, even the criminals who prey on the public in my country would read this pronouncement! Would they be so quick to plunder the national coffers and then charge exorbitant amounts for passports and licences, and every other government service that the citizens have no option but to pay for, to recoup what they have stolen and will steal again? Would the lawless ones be so quick to prey on the householder and the man in the street, and take not only his goods, but often also his life if they knew what was coming to them?
Habakkuk was reassured that God was not sitting on His hands, as he thought. There is a day of reckoning coming – perhaps not always in this life, although the consequences of sin will eventually catch up with the perpetrators – but as certain as night follows day. People may think that, because they get away with their wickedness for a while, the day of reckoning is not coming. God always takes the long look. Death is not the end as some believe or hope but the doorway into the final phase, the destiny of every human being in a place for which they have prepared in this life.
David realised this when he wrote:
But to the wicked person God says . . . ‘When you see a thief, you join with him . . . When you did these things and I kept silent. You thought I was exactly like you. But now I arraign you and set my accusations before you.’ (Psa. 50: 16a; 18; 21).
I cannot help but think of what the Nazis did to the Jews in Europe during WW2. What was the motivation for the slaughter of six million Jews in the death camps in Poland and Germany? Was it pure hatred for the people of God or was it something more sinister than that?
One wonders whether it was not pure greed – many of the Jews were wealthy people. Think of the plunder the Nazis took from the hapless people who were stripped of clothing and jewellery and sent to the gas chambers naked. Who benefitted from the wealth that was stolen? How can it be that this terrible blight on the human race is even being expunged from the history books and from the memory and denied that it even happened?
God’s answer to these things is “Woe!” He has not forgotten. When Paul wrote to the Romans, he assured them that it was not their place to take revenge on wrongdoers because vengeance belongs to God and He will repay.
Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. (Rom 12: 19).
Perhaps one of the scariest things in the Bible is the perfect justice of God. He gave mankind the freedom to choose, and the warning that what he chooses will define who he is and where he is going. He gives us the option to choose to obey Him and to enjoy the benefits of relationship with Him or to go our own way and take the consequences. More than that, He even confirms the choices we make.
Think of Pharaoh, for example. He chose to reject God’s instruction to let His people go. Five times Pharaoh hardened his heart in spite of the ever-increasing intensity of the plagues that hit his people. Then five times God hardened his heart. Is that not fair or what! God gave him exactly what he chose – and the consequences were horrific.
No one will escape the end result of his choices. Just imagine – a person who is greedy and steals what belongs to others will forever burn with unfulfilled passion for greed and dishonesty. An adulterer, a sexually promiscuous person, a homosexual will forever burn with unfulfilled sexual passion. A murderer will burn with a passion to kill. They will become what they chose to be.
That is the awesome perfection of God’s justice. He does not have to do anything but allow every person to be forever what he chose to be in this life.
They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason, God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness (2 Thess. 2: 10b-11).
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.