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Who Among Us Will Live?

After carrying the wood of his own death to the mountain, Isaac, a grown man, laid still for Abraham and waited for the knife to fall.

After losing their families and homes and serving the King of Babylon for many years, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego walked into the furnace and Daniel walked into the lion’s den.

After carrying his execution cross to Golgotha, Yeshua allowed the Roman soldiers to nail him to the wood, pierce his side with a spear, and force a crown of thorns onto his head.

After Stephen, Peter, and countless others dedicated their lives to preaching salvation and the Word of God to the world, they willingly gave up their lives in the dungeons, arenas, and fires of evil men.

Meanwhile, the userer, the unjust, the reprobate, and the cruel live freely and without fear. As Solomon wrote,

Ecclesiastes 8:14 There is a vanity which is done upon the earth: that there are righteous men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there are wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous – I said that this also is vanity.

Where exactly is justice in this world? Solomon also said this,

Ecclesiastes 12:1 Remember then thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come…

Evil days will come; they come for everyone eventually. Everyone suffers. Everyone goes through fire. But in the very end, only that which is pure survives:

Isaiah 33:10-22 Now will I arise, saith the LORD; now will I be exalted; now will I lift Myself up. (11) Ye conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble; your breath is a fire that shall devour you. (12) And the peoples shall be as the burnings of lime; as thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire. (13) Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge My might. (14) The sinners in Zion are afraid; trembling hath seized the ungodly: ‘Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?’ (15) He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from looking upon evil; (16) He shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks; his bread shall be given, his waters shall be sure. (17) Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty; they shall behold a land stretching afar. (18) Thy heart shall muse on the terror: ‘Where is he that counted, where is he that weighed? Where is he that counted the towers?’ (19) Thou shalt not see the fierce people; a people of a deep speech that thou canst not perceive, of a stammering tongue that thou canst not understand. (20) Look upon Zion, the city of our solemn gatherings; thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a peaceful habitation, a tent that shall not be removed, the stakes whereof shall never be plucked up, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken. (21) But there the LORD will be with us in majesty, in a place of broad rivers and streams; wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby. (22) For the LORD is our Judge, the LORD is our Lawgiver, the LORD is our King; He will save us.

The world is full of trouble and sorrow, and I won’t pretend to understand why it had to be this way. There is only One who knows the beginning from the end. Put your trust in Him, not in men or political parties or ideologies.

Remember how Solomon concluded his treatise on the vagaries of mortal life:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (14) For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

(Edited and moved from “Soil and Stone” where it was first published on February 22, 2013.)

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