He Handed Them Over

Rob Bentz

READ : Ezra 5:6-17

He gave them into the hand of King Nebuchadnezzar. (v. 12)

Does God have a short fuse? Is he an angry God? If you spend much time reading the Old Testament you might be inclined to think this way. The truth is, God does seem harsh at times. He is holy. We are not. So God’s moments of intense anger toward sinful men and women are completely justified.

In Exodus 6:4-8, we learn that God had made a covenant with the nation of Israel. He would be their God, and they would be his people. This covenant was initiated by God, yet it required faithfulness from his people: blessings for obedience, curses for disobedience (see Deut. 28). The nation of Israel had the responsibility of loyalty to almighty God.

Repeatedly, Israel rebelled against their covenantal relationship and worshiped other gods. That’s the sort of thing that makes God angry – in much the same way and for virtually the same reason that a husband or wife is hurt by the betrayal of an unfaithful spouse. Unfaithfulness to the covenant relationship brings pain and penalty. That is the lesson of the exile.

In the covenant of grace that believers enter through faith in Jesus Christ, God asks for loyalty and faithfulness to him in return for his saving acts. He deserves nothing less!

PRAYER

Lord, please forgive my sins of disloyalty and spiritual infidelity. I pledge anew my allegiance to you.