Posts Tagged ‘Retribution’

WHEN THE WOLF HOWLS

Dagger for When the Wolf Howls

© by Ross Cochrane

Chapter 52

Solomon was there as they celebrated the sheep-shearing with Absalom. He watched as his brothers drank and ate and witnessed the horror of that night.

He saw Absalom speaking with his servants. He watched as they stepped back with their mouths aghast at something Absalom was saying. What did he say to them to make them so nervous? He observed them go about their duties with ashen faces for some time. They seemed somehow clumsy. One dropped some wine that his brother Amnon had ordered and had to get some more. Another seemed agitated.

Solomon was wise enough not to drink wine that night. He sensed something in the air. He didn’t recognise it immediately. It was alien to the celebration. He tried to find it in the concern of Absalom’s servants but it was not there. What am I missing? he thought. Then he caught a glimpse of it in Absalom’s eyes, and suddenly, as if by revelation, he knew what it was. It was the bitter/sweet smell of revenge. He stood up, but it was already too late!

Time seemed to slow down in the next few seconds. Solomon shouted, “Nooo!” but as he opened his mouth Absalom was also shouting to his servants, “Strike him NOW!”

Amnon looked up in the confusion to see hatred burning in Absalom’s eyes. Pure terror enveloped him as he tried to get up.

The killing was quick and came from behind, the blade curling in an arc with it’s shocking task. Amnon saw Absalom’s smiling disgust only momentarily as he received the full shock of Absalom’s terrible gift. Stabbed several times, Amnon now lay on the ground, blood pooling around his lifeless, crumpled body. His brothers reeled back in horror.

Suddenly the silence was broken as Solomon shouted, “Get away as quickly as you can! Move now!” He had realised that Amnon’s death would not be enough for one who was intoxicated with revenge.

Solomon had been right. For a moment, Absalom had thought to eliminate all competition to the throne, but Solomon had responded too quickly. His brothers had each mounted their mules and were escaping.

In the chaos that ensued Absalom looked down at Amnon lying at his feet, and after what seemed like an eternity he said, “Let them go.” Strangely the satisfaction he thought he would feel was still mixed with unrequited frustration.

Absalom’s chief servant still held the dagger in his hand, it’s blade soiled with Amnon’s blood. “The blade of your retribution, my lord,” he said as he returned it to Absalom. It was a Canaanite dagger with an iron blade and a beautifully carved hilt.

Pastor Ross

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Matthew 13:36-43 – HELL, GOD’S WASTE MANAGEMENT CENTRE – Part 11

Hell

I watch as hell is washed inland with the momentum of an earthquake behind it, a wave of burning cars, buildings and debri. And in its wake the devastation of thousands lost. Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear explosion.

In the Valley of Hinnom, outside Jerusalem, refuse was burned continually day and night. It was called Gehenna, the city dump. Jesus uses it as a picture of HELL. I know that Hell is regarded as a foolish ploy of religious people to instill fear, or a metaphor of retribution, but the Bible is very clear about it being a LITERAL AND DEFINITE place, originally prepared for the devil and his angels and not us (Matthew 25:41).

We are concerned for the lives lost in Japan. What is even worse is the thought of people being separated from God for ETERNITY. As reluctant as I am to speak about hell, Jesus isn’t. Perhaps today, rather than pointing to Gehenna, Jesus would point to the smoldering, twisted rubbish dump, like a lake of fire and smoke that once was Northern Japan, and say that it is a portrait of hell. It’s an incredible waste. But Imagine God thinking that my life is a waste such as this, not only on earth but also for eternity. No wonder hell is described as “THE SECOND DEATH”.

Imagine in Japan a helicopter offering to lift someone from the path of the Tsnami. Imagine them saying “I don’t need your help”. Lots of people do that with Jesus. They say “Well, I’ve lived a pretty good life. I don’t need Jesus. I don’t need to be saved!” The arrogance that deceives me into thinking that somehow I DESERVE heaven rather than accept that Christ died for my sins to keep me from hell may be a prevalent concept today, but it is totally ego centric and highlights how spiritually blind I am. I am choosing to live on a waste dump. Or as we choose to call it a Waste Management Recycling Centre.

As I speak on this day 14th March 2011, Hell walks through the battered remains of New Zealand, Japan and threatens people at Gunpoint in Libya, but Matthew 10:28 (NLT) says “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The Bible says God is life. Those who choose to separate themselves from God separate themselves from that life for eternity, an unimaginable existence.

When Jesus gives an explanation of the parable of the WHEAT AND WEEDS being separated at the harvest, He uses strong terms. He says in Matthew 13:41-42 (NLT) “The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will remove from His Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” A comedian said if you don’t have teeth then teeth will be provided, but somehow it doesn’t seem so funny when you think that teeth gnashing describes the terrifying torment and anguish of such retribution.

Jesus is looking at some very religious people as He speaks and says “There will come a time when it will be sorted out”. The day of judgment is coming! He is simply stating it as a fact, and He is not trying to be some street preacher wearing a placard saying “Turn or burn!” Far from it. He is saying “NO-ONE ELSE has come to save you.”

John 3:17-21 (NLT) says “God sent His Son into the world NOT TO JUDGE the world, BUT TO SAVE the world through Him. There is NO JUDGMENT against anyone who BELIEVES IN HIM. But anyone who does NOT believe in Him has ALREADY been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light…”

These are words of life, not death. God loves you. He IS love. The invitation is clear. God offers us life in Christ. Jesus is the only way, truth and life. Choose life.

Pastor Ross

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