When Bad News Becomes Good News

4 You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. 5 Oh, that my ways were directed to keep Your statutes! 6 Then I would not be ashamed, when I look into all Your commandments. 7 I will praise You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. 8 I will you’re your statutes; oh, do not forsake me utterly! —Psalm 119:4-8


IT SEEMS TO be built into human nature to resist a command given by someone else. And when the phrase “righteous judgment” is used in reference to God’s prerogative, many are even offended. This indicates a low view of God. The truth is that if you can accept and believe in Genesis 1:1: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” the rest is easy. Think about it. If God is the Creator of this earth and of the entire universe, including the angels and all people—who are we to question His right to command and righteously judge His own creation?

I’m no different from anyone else. I don’t like to be told what to do. I want to be the captain of my ship. Unfortunately, I tried that and wound up with a life that was a shipwreck. But the Lord rescued me and turned everything around. I still don’t always understand the things that He wants me to do, or why He allows some things in my life, but I know and believe that He’s God—and I’m not. He knows what’s best for me, and the same goes for you!

The Bible says some things that are offensive. It talks about hell and judgment and God’s hatred of sin. Who wants to hear that? “Tell me the good stuff. I don’t like all that bad news about eternal punishment and all. I like to hear good news. And besides, who made God the judge?” It’s like the foolish little kid who, on being told to pick up his toys, turns to the babysitter, hired by the parents, and says, “You’re not the boss of me!”

Suppose you go to the beach with a friend, and as soon as you get there he drops everything and sprints off into the water and swims out toward the waves. Suddenly you notice a dorsal fin sticking up from the water. A great white shark is approaching your friend. That’s bad news! So do you run toward the water yelling, “Hey, man, you’re a great swimmer!” Would they feel good if you said that? Sure! But would it help them in their present situation, or is it the bad news that’s what they must hear? The same is true with the Word of God. It doesn’t try to make people feel better about themselves. It tells the truth that they need to hear, and even though it may sound like bad news: “You have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23) and “The soul who sins shall die” (Eze 18:20), it really can be good news if it alerts you to your future, unless you change the direction you’re headed. We need One greater than ourselves to direct our path—one who can the see the “Great Whites” ahead of us and direct our steps instead to a life of health in our bodies and strength to our bones and assure us of a glorious destiny instead of the “something terrible” that otherwise awaits us.

If you haven’t understood yet or seen your need for the Lord, listen: God loves us enough to tell us the bad news and not only how to avoid the pains of self-inflicted wounds on this earth but also the eternal consequences of ignoring His commands and rejecting His love and forgiveness. We have the One Book that will show us our sins and our need for a Savior. If you read the Bible sincerely, wanting to know the truth, I promise that you will be convicted by its words and understand the help that is promised if you receive Christ into your life. The Bible is clear: all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. “All” means all. You, me, the best person you can think of, the nicest person, the smartest person—all. There is no one who can escape eternal death apart from knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior, which was God’s plan all along. Once we’re safe in His arms as believers in Him, no matter what lies before us, we can praise and thank Him, knowing that it’s all been allowed for our benefit and that a glorious future lies before us in the end. Do you want to be safe at last?

Seek Him.


Excerpt from “Beside Still Waters” now available on Amazon.

BARRY STAGNER

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