When considering whether judgment is at hand, we must first remember that it is the Lord’s strange work (Isaiah 28:21). History testifies that judgment is something God is reluctant to do.
Think of all the wickedness that has marred human history. Think of all the sin and disregard for God and His laws, and how few times He has intervened with judgment. Through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (33:11). Truly, God is reluctant to judge.
Second, we need to remember that God delights in showing mercy (Micah 7:18). Israel’s rebellious history reveals that its people were often on the brink of extinction because of their sin. The book of Judges, for example, covers an approximately 335-year period of great moral confusion when “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).
Sound familiar? Toward the end of the book, the Jews’ fate seemed hopeless, and it appeared as if nothing could alter Israel’s course. Yet, we find God wasn’t finished with His people. The book of Judges closes with the reign of Samuel as prophet, and with David ascending to the throne, providing a new day of mercy for the Jews. Where judgment had seemed inevitable, God extended mercy.
As we come to the New Testament, how much darker could things have gotten than to have Herod the Edomite as king over the Jews at the time of Christ’s birth? This must have seemed like the lowest point in Israel’s history. Yet, it was during that dark, dark hour that Jesus Christ came, after which followed the Day of Pentecost—the single greatest outpouring of God’s Spirit upon His people.
We see God’s mercy in biblical history, but what about the Day of Pentecost to the present? We will look at similar stories of God’s incredible grace and mercy illustrated in U.S. history next time.