God must be obeyed
Many years ago, King David, the good king of ancient Israel, decided to bring the Ark of God from where it had been for some time, to his capital city, Jerusalem.
The Ark of God was a special box that was the centre of the Jewish worship of God. It was about the size of refrigerator. It was not an idol; God’s power was seen over the Ark. The Ark was made of wood and covered with gold. The lid of the Ark, called the Mercy Seat, was made of solid gold.
The day that the Ark was to be moved was to be a very special day. King David had a new cart made to carry the Ark. The cart was to be pulled by a team of oxen. When all was ready, the Ark was loaded onto the cart. The priests of God walked beside the Ark as it went on its way. But at one point, the oxen stumbled, and a man called Uzzah put out his hand to hold the Ark and steady it. Then, we are told, a terrible thing happened:
“Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God.” 2 Samuel 6:7.
Why was the punishment so severe? All that Uzzah had done was to steady the Ark of God? God had said quite clearly in the book of Numbers that His Ark must always be carried by the priests on their shoulders (Numbers 7:9). So either Uzzah did not know God’s commandment, or he chose not to obey it. In either case, he was guilty before God.
This event shows us that God is holy and great, and rightly demands obedience from all those who serve Him.
People who do not want God’s love
When there is a wedding, the parents of the bride and groom to be married invite their friends and relatives to come to the wedding. Jesus once told a story about a king who made a wedding feast for his son. When the feast was ready he sent his servants to call the guests; but those guests would not come! They wanted to get on with their own things. They had more important things to do than to obey the king’s order to come to the wedding. No wonder the king was angry, and sent his servants to destroy the people who had turned down his invitation (Matthew 22:1-14).
God is like that great King. If God has graciously invited a man or woman to share in the joys of His kingdom on earth, and that person says:
“I do not want what God is offering me, and I will not obey Him…”
then there will come a time of judgement, and that person will be condemned and destroyed. As we read in Galatians 6:7:
“God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” We cannot make fun of God.
Resurrection and Judgement
Jesus is in heaven with God at present. Soon he will come back to the earth. He will gather all those who have followed him (the living and the dead), and he will judge them on what they did with their lives. God is a loving and caring Father; but He is also just and upright. He could not give eternal life to men and women who do not want His love, and who – knowing that Jesus had died for them – made no move to serve and obey Him.
Have a look at what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 3:10.
There must be a time of reckoning; there must be a time of review. A time when Jesus will look at what we have done in our lives, and what we have done, or not done, to serve and obey him and his Father. We do not know exactly what the Judgement will be like. It may be that the Judgement will be like a human court. However, this court is God’s court – it may look quite different. God and Jesus can look at what we think. They do not have to hear from witnesses, because they have seen us themselves. It may be that we shall see events from our past lives before us, and Jesus will explain to us what we should have done, or not done.
Jesus told a story about what we should be doing if we want to be accepted by him, and you may read it in Matthew 25:14-30.
When Jesus comes again, he will make some of the dead people live again, and gather those of his followers who are living at that time. Then there will be a time of judgement. After the judgement, those who have been accepted by Jesus will be given life that will never end. Jesus will say to them:
Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
Jesus himself will be the judge (see John 5:28-30), and will judge with the wisdom that God has given him. Look at Isaiah 11:2-4.
You and I can only judge by what we see and hear; but the Lord Jesus will know what people are thinking, and he will make no mistakes in his decision.
Who will be at the Judgement Seat?
God tells us that those who are “responsible” will be brought before the Judgement Seat. Who are the “responsible”?
The “responsible” are those people who have heard God’s gracious offer of life, and who know they should do something about it.
There are people who have followed Jesus. There are people who have heard about him, but who have decided not to follow him. Both must come before Jesus Christ to have their lives looked at closely by him. If we turned down God’s offer of life, then we shall be severely punished. We may lose our lives.
People who have never known about the true God, and His plans, will not be made alive – it would be unfair to judge them on something they know nothing about.
The Judgement of God is something to be afraid of. God has the power to destroy us. Yet He is our Father, and like our own fathers, He cares for us. If we come to God as little children, trust Him and follow His Son, Jesus, then God will invite us to be part of His Kingdom.