“For I am with you and will save you, says the Lord…I will discipline you, but with justice; I cannot let you go unpunished…The fierce anger of the Lord will not diminish until it has finished all he has planned. In the days to come you will understand all this” (Jeremiah 30:11,24, NLT).
God gave Jeremiah a message of hope for Israel that contrasted with his usual message of gloom and doom.
“And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice.” (1 Kings 3:28, ESV).
I Kings 3 includes the story of King Solomon’s prayer for wisdom and then his first official act as king in applying the wisdom God gave him.
Two women brought a child before King Solomon each claiming he was her son. Solomon pronounced his judgment that the child should be divided in two and a half given to each woman.
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17-18, NLT).
It seemed to Habakkuk that God was indifferent and unresponsive to the evil permeating society in ancient Judah.
“When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this.” This warning spoken by God through the prophet Ezekiel hardly seems fair. The formerly righteous person dies while the formerly wicked person lives! God explains His position on this matter in vs. 13-16. If a righteous person trusts in his own righteousness, which causes him to act unjustly, then none of his righteous acts matter and he is responsible for the injustice he has inflicted and he shall die. But if a wicked person repents and turns from her sin and begins to do what is just and right, then she shall live. God’s redemption is always tempered by divine justice. What matters is Who you trust in–yourself or God. The self-righteous person really only trusts in himself, not God. The penitent person no longer trusts in herself, but God. What matters in the end is what was the transforming effect of God’s redemption on your life? In fact, it is a matter of life or death!