Befitting Rewards: A Theodicy (Part 4)

In this 4th and final part of the “Befitting Rewards” article series, Lamb’s Harbinger will continue to show that God answers our cries for justice on an intimately personal level. A general, impersonal kind of justice does not satisfy. God answers this by bestowing individualized rewards, which show that God’s sense of goodness and justice is far above man’s sense of goodness and justice. Let me put it another way. God considers our personal trials and suffering as work, and he rewards the work with an extremely generous (quid pro quo bonus) compensation.

Only one’s counting on God’s economy of rewards can keep one from allowing doubt and bitterness to overrun his or her life (Heb 12:15), because THE Sin (Heb. 12:1) which the book of Hebrews combats is one’s doubt that Jesus is worthy of our faithfully suffering for his Name and/or that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him by faith in Christ (Heb. 11:6; 12:1, 15). Paul echoed the motivations for enduring hardships and for “overcoming” in his letters to Timothy and Titus (2 Tim. 4:8-18; Titus 3:7); and Jesus spoke of rewards in many parables and also expressly to encourage the disciples (Matt. 19:27; Mark 10:28; Luke 18:18).

Without further ado, Let’s examine God’s rewards system, which defends God’s character against attacks and motivates the believer:

The Parents of Children “Cut Off”

In Jeremiah 31:15, the reader finds that God calls mourning a “work.” As I have written before in “All the Children of the World,” this passage in Jeremiah is a prophecy about the crazed infanticide which King Herod committed during the early years of Jesus’ life in an attempt to destroy Jesus. The children were murdered and the parents were bereft. God reaches out to those who were wailing aloud with grief with tender words, “Shh… hush now. Don’t cry,” he begs, and then adds a promise of hope “because you will be rewarded for your work” (Jer. 31:16). What reward could possibly fit the murder of a cherished baby? What could right that heinous wrong? Everything within a parent would cry out, “I hate you, God… and I hate your Messiah. Just kill me and send me to hell; because I don’t want to live in a world with a God like you!” They “refuse to be comforted,” you see (Jer. 31:15b).

Very softly answers the God of All Comfort, the One whose name is I AM, the Master of Life: “…they shall come back from the land of the enemy” (Jer. 31:16). Of course that seems a bit obscure–“enemy?” But, when you consider that God presents himself as the Source of Life only a few words before, then you might understand that the LORD considers death to be his enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). God promises the only reward that is befitting infanticide. He promises RESURRECTION! In fact, God promises here that in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ, those very children who died for Jesus will be rulers in the very country of Israel in which they died.

Oh, dear one. Have you buried a sweet baby, whether from disease, untimely accident, war, unknown causes, deformity, or force? Then, you have felt the stinging injustice that screams, “no one should ever have to bury a child.” It is an upside down thing… an affront to nature itself. And, God says, “I know. That is why I made resurrection into an eternal state possible… to right all wrongs… to serve justice to all injustice.”

Have you questioned God’s goodness amid abortions and Belgium’s Child Euthanasia? Some have said knowledge is power. No, my friend, that is not real power. True power is the ability to undo great evils, and there is no evil greater than death. God is saving the defeat of death for the last thing he does, because–yes–all must taste death, but He who will have the last laugh against death will laugh best. Would you like to laugh with God in that day? Change your mind about God. Trust in Jesus Christ, the Firstborn from the Dead.

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