Punishment: H.C. Question 10

Heidelberg Catechism Question 10

Does God permit such disobedience and rebellion to go unpunished?

Exodus 34:7 – maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

Psalm 5:4-6 – For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome.  The arrogant cannot stand in your presence.  You hate all who do wrong; you destroy those who tell lies.  The bloodthirsty and deceitful you, Lord, detest.

Nahum 1:2 – The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.  The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and vents his wrath against his enemies.

Romans 1:18 – The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,

Ephesians 5:6 – Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.

Hebrews 9:27 – Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,

Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

Deuteronomy 27:26 – “Cursed is anyone who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.”  Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

Striving: H.C. Question 5

Heidelberg Catechism Question 5

Can you live up to all [God’s Law] perfectly?

Romans 3:9-20 – What shall we conclude then? Do we have any advantage? Not at all! For we have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin. As it is written:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
    there is no one who understands;
    there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
    they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
    not even one.”
“Their throats are open graves;
    their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
    “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    ruin and misery mark their ways,
and the way of peace they do not know.”
    “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.

Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 John 1:8 – If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:10 – If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Genesis 6:5 – The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.

Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?

Romans 7:23-24 – but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

Romans 8:7 – The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.

Ephesians 2:1-3 – As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Titus 3:3 – At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.


Day 45: Numbers 18-20; Moses' fumble

After a great deal more of seemingly the same stuff, lots of laws for priests and laws for cleansing, we get to a story that is probably very familiar to us.  I remember this story first from a Sunday School lesson.  Ah… flannel graph… what an invention!  As I remember the story, Moses got all angry at the people and struck the rock in anger, but water came out anyways because God is cool and all that.  But God punishes Moses for not listening by not letting him go into the promised land.  What was the moral of the story?  We need to make sure that we do things the way God tells us, or else we will get punished, even if God still makes things happen.

As I read this again, in light of all of the other things that we have read in the past month and a half, I don’t know that this story, or any Biblical Story, can really simply be reduced down to some pithy moral statement…  I’m sure that it applies, or at least make some sense… but I’m not in favor of limiting meaning, especially in Biblical narratives.

There is a lot more here about the faithfulness of God, if we read it in the context of everything else we have read, than about God’s punishment of Moses.  This story shows God to be faithful and loving, despite our failings.  One could thing, however, that as Moses disobeyed God, there has to be some sort of a consequence, because God is Holy and completely opposed to sin.  And there is, we see this in the punishment of Moses and Aaron.  But this story is not necessarily about the punishment as it is about a faithful God once again providing for a people that are continuously unfaithful to Him.

On a side note, the other story about the interaction between Israel and Edom is almost like a family update on what’s going on with the sons of Isaac.  Remember back to Genesis 25 and Genesis 27, the accounts of Jacob and Esau, and the things that happened.  Abraham tells Esau that he will live by the sword, and we learn that there will be contempt between Jacob and Esau for generations to come, much like that of the contempt between Isaac and Ishmael.  This story is very much playing out of this sibling rivalry, hundreds of years old.