But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death…. What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also. —Genesis 38:7, 10

What do you do with these verses? How do you respond to the Lord putting these two brothers to death for the wickedness? We do not grasp the awesome holiness and glory of God and so we wrestle with verses like these.

How would you feel if you came to the dinner table and plopped down in front of you on your dinner plate was a very fresh and very over-powering, stinking cow flop? That would be so repulsive to us. Well, our sin is infinitely more repulsive to God. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6).

In the verses above these two brothers were killed by the Lord because of their wickedness. In the Lord’s measurement these two brothers had crossed a line and the Lord took action. It was capital punishment. It is amazing that this does not happen more. In Acts 5:9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.” Here Ananias and Sapphira were also killed by the Lord for their sin. These passages should make us uncomfortable. It is only by the grace of God that we have not experienced the same fate.

In reality God could execute us all for our wickedness. But in His purposes and by His grace Jesus took the penalty for our eternal filth on Himself and has given us the eternal righteous of God (II Corinthians 5:21). We do not fully fathom that nor what He has for us in the future. We can understand what He has revealed to us “in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). Wow… “the incomparable riches of His grace.”

Brothers and sisters let us rejoice in the awesome action God has taken toward us. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure” (I John 3:2-3). Yes, let us live pure lives, lives lived out of gratefulness because of who the Lord is and the marvels the Lord has done for us!

Dear Father, I am overwhelmed, and rightly so, when I think about the mercy and grace extended to me. Really, I do not have the words that truly explain my amazement of what You have done in my life. Now may I share this with others in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. Yes, may this be so.

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