“It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” (Deuteronomy 32:35 NIV)

The Lord is patient with us. It is His will that none perish but all might come to repentance (cf. 2 Peter 3:9). Does God enjoy destroying the wicked? The Lord asks this in a rhetorical way in Ezekiel 18.

“Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked?” declares the Sovereign LORD. “Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?” (18:23)

No, the Lord does not find pleasure in laying waste of that which he created. Yes, He is delighted when the wicked change their mind about sin. God revisits this in verse 31.

Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die,  O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! (18:31-32)

Our God is reluctant to take vengeance, so he asks “Why will you die?” If we see His patience as an  opportunity to repent, we will live. If not, we will experience His righteous anger.

As an adolescent, I became a challenge for some teachers. My sixth through eighth grade teachers would call me to the front of the class or take me into the hall then paddle my behind. I deserved every bit of it.

When I turned high school age, things changed in the discipline department. Paddling was the job of our senior-high principal, J. Paul Jones. It wasn’t slam, bang and let’s move on anymore. My disruption was met with banishment to the principal’s office.

Sitting, knowing how much the spanking was going to hurt, was mental torture. Waiting for Mr. Jones to take care of his other business and tend to whipping my butt was intolerable. Had he shown his face, I would have begged him to get done what he had to do. But I waited.

Had I used the wait as an opportunity to contemplate the error of my ways, it may have proven valuable. Perhaps then a paddling wouldn’t have been necessary. Our principal–being the good man he was–did not delight in inflicting pain.  He spanked to send a message: “Students who give their teachers problems will get what Finkbeiner got.”

Deep down, I doubt if there’s a mature American who doesn’t believe we have something serious coming. If we agree with the premise, then we are waiting in the office. When the wait is over, God will dispense with the unpleasantness. The Lord, indeed, will avenge.

The problem is most have never had the paddling they’ve had coming. We think God isn’t allowed to spank or unwilling to take us to the wood shed. Read your Bible. Study the prophets. See, after many warnings, what God did to Israel and Judah. It should send shivers down our spine.

I recall but one trip to the principal’s office. I mended my foolish ways and began to actually learn from my teachers. I finished well and enrolled in a college with solid academic standards. I never gave John Paul Jones the credit he had coming.

It all could have been avoided–the principal’s paddling I mean. We will not escape all the consequences, but we can avoid God’s wrath by confessing our sin and turning from it.

Our nation is in for a horrible whipping. Leaders have no clue what’s coming or they would declare their fear of God and repent. A series of little spankings has not worked. Many think America’s November 8th election will prevent the punishment we deserve. A major painful event from heaven is overdue, one which most seem to be oblivious.

We can experience God’s vengeance and perish with the wicked or we can choose to repent, thank God for his discipline, and live. What are you waiting for?

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