Just before the blowing of the seven trumpets announcing the discipline and retribution of God on the earth (and its cataclysmic end) there was a note about the people of God (called the 144,000). You see it in chapter 7. Immediately before the trumpets, there is the action of an angel hurling fire to the earth in a foreshadowing of the trouble to come. Everything in chapters 4 – 11 is repeated in chapters 12 – 16. This time, instead of trumpets, there are bowls of wrath, seven of them. Like the first six trumpets, the first six seals are all in an attempt to get the attention of the earth and turn its inhabitants to God. And like the angel hurling the fire on the earth, so in chapter 14, preceding the seven bowls of wrath, there is an angel who forshadows the judgment to come but this time with a harvesters sickle (14:16ff).
It doesn’t work. Not completely anyway.
So once again we ask: Why does God do it? Why use punishment and discipline to get people to change? Why not use love and understanding and kindness instead? After all, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Oh wait. He did use love and kindness and understanding. That’s what Jesus was all about.
So . . . if love doesn’t work, and discipline doesn’t work, why bother?
Because at the end of the day, God can’t seem to give up on His people. “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” God says. “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” Isaiah 49:15-16).
Aren’t you glad?
But there’s something else here. If God so loves us, can we who possess His DNA through the blood of Christ love one another any less?