Tuesday, September 1
The heart of God
Scripture: Ezekiel 17-19, Revelation 7
Ezekiel 18:23 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?
Ezekiel 18:31–32 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
God appeals to Israel to repent and live. He has promised judgment due to their sin and unrepentant hearts. But He doesn’t want them to die. He takes no pleasure in their deaths. He wants them to repent and live.
Here is an important glimpse into the heart of God. Some people mistakenly think that God is angry and vindictive, that He loves to punish and destroy sinners. Instead, He clearly says that He takes no pleasure in that, but instead wants people to repent and live. He wants the best for us!
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.
We should have the heart of God; we should want what God wants: that everyone repents and lives. We should take no pleasure in someone being punished or dying, but we should take pleasure whenever someone repents, is forgiven and lives!
Universalism is the belief that everyone will be saved. While I don’t think it is supported by all of Scripture, I do think that we should wish it was true. We should want it, because it seems that is what God wants. That is the heart of God and the heart we need—a heart that wants everyone to be saved and takes no pleasure in another’s punishment or death.
Prayer: Lord, give me Your heart for people.