When God Laughs, Watch Out

Joshua 10-12
P.G. Mathew | Sunday, March 13, 2005
Copyright © 2005, P.G. Mathew

“Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.”

– Romans 11:22

The Doctrine of Divine Judgment

Joshua 10-12 is an account of the conquest of Canaan by the people of Israel. We may wonder what relevance these chapters have for us as New Testament believers. But Romans 15:4 says, “Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” First Corinthians 10:11 tells us concerning the Old Testament, “These things . . . were written down as warnings for us.” And 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” So the entire Old Testament is very relevant to us.

Chapters 10 through 12 of the book of Joshua teach a doctrine that modern preachers and teachers largely have abandoned-the doctrine of divine judgment. This doctrine is explained in the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 33, “Of the Last Judgment”:

Section 1: God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world in righteousness by Jesus Christ, to whom all power and judgment is given of the Father. In which day, not only the apostate angels shall be judged, but likewise all persons that have lived upon earth shall appear before the tribunal of Christ, to give an account of their thoughts, words, and deeds; and to receive according to what they have done in the body, whether good or evil.

Section 2: The end of God’s appointing this day is for the manifestation of the glory of His mercy, in the eternal salvation of the elect; and of His justice, in the damnation of the reprobate, who are wicked and disobedient. For then shall the righteous go into everlasting life, and receive that fullness of joy and refreshing, which shall come from the presence of the Lord; but the wicked who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.

Section 3: As Christ would have us to be certainly persuaded that there shall be a day of judgment, both to deter all men from sin; and for the greater consolation of the godly in their adversity: so will He have that day unknown to men, that they may shake off all carnal security, and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come; and may be ever prepared to say, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly, Amen.

The idea of God as Judge is foreign to many Christians. They see God only as a kind grandfatherly figure who never judges anyone. They believe that a person can become a Christian by merely “accepting Jesus” without ever repenting of his sins.

This represents a change in theology from historic Christianity. In olden times, preachers would say that a person had to repent of his sins to be saved. They would declare that Jesus came to save us from our sins and that Jesus died on the cross to make us holy like him. But we have come a long way. The modern view of Jesus is of someone who lets us sin without ever passing judgment.

Joshua 10-12 refutes such false teaching. Orthodox Christianity has always taught of a final judgment. Jesus Christ is Savior because he is Sovereign Lord; the two are inextricably linked.

Why do people sin? Because they have no fear of God. Many people in the church today have no fear of God; thus, they continue to sin. Exodus 20 says that God came in such a terrible manner on Mount Sinai so that the fear of God would keep the people from sinning (Exodus 20:20). Our theology must be biblical. We must maintain a proper balance between the kindness and the severity of God.

The Kindness and Severity of God

Romans 11:22 says, “Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.” Note, Paul was speaking to the church, not to unbelievers. This is a comfort as well as a warning to us. Yes, God shows kindness and mercy by saving us, but we also must be careful to continue in his kindness.

Our God is a moral God; he is light and in him there is no darkness at all. This moral God punishes sin in history and beyond history. The flood described in Genesis 7 wiped out all but eight people. Therein we see a clear example of both the kindness and the severity of God.

God patiently endured the wickedness of the Canaanites for four hundred years, but they showed “contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads toward repentance” (Romans 2:4). Their unrepentant hearts were storing up wrath against the day of wrath. And when their iniquity was full, God commissioned Joshua to mete out God’s wrath on them.

In Deuteronomy 7 and 20, God instructed Moses and Joshua not to show mercy to the Canaanites, but to destroy them all-men, women, and children. We do not like to hear about such destruction because we have become influenced by the worldly ideas of who God is, what sin is, and what man is. We have reduced Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, merely to One who always loves us. But God himself commanded Joshua to destroy all the Canaanites. This is the severity of divine judgment after four hundred years of patience.

Even so, God has appointed every man once to die and then comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). But today is the day of grace, the day of salvation. God wants us to repent and turn to Jesus Christ, that we may be saved from his coming wrath. Romans 1:18 tells us, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.”

Psalm 2 speaks about God laughing at the wicked before he pours out his wrath upon them: “Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. ‘Let us break their chains . . . and throw off their fetters'” (vv. 1-3). These people see the law of God as a chain that binds them. Thus, they desire to be free from God and from his law. But verse 4 tells us, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. Then he rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath.” And verses 10-12 say: “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” When God laughs, watch out!

They Heard the Truth

The Canaanites heard the reports of how Joshua and the people of Israel were advancing through Canaan. Joshua 10:1 says concerning Adoni-Zedek, the leader of the southern confederacy: “Now Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had taken Ai and totally destroyed it.” And in 11:1 we read about Jabin, the leader of the northern alliance: “When Jabin king of Hazor heard of this. . . .”

These Canaanite kings heard of the advance of the kingdom of God in power. They heard how Joshua and all Israel completely destroyed Jericho and Ai and were now moving on to conquer other cities. They also heard how the Gibeonites had surrendered. The northern and southern confederacies heard all of this, yet they refused to surrender.

The southern kings, led by Adoni-Zedek king of Jerusalem, decided to attack the Gibeonites, while the northern kings, under the leadership of Jabin king of Hazor, went up against Israel. They stubbornly refused to surrender and sue for peace. They refused to call themselves servants of Joshua, as the Gibeonites had done. They refused to entreat him, saying, “Have mercy upon us! We are sinners.” Had they done so, I believe that God would have spared them also.

This is the same situation we find today. When the gospel is preached and people are told that the kingdom of God is at hand, the vast majority of them harden their hearts.

Yet not all people reject God’s offer of peace. When Rahab heard the gospel, she repented, and she and her entire family were saved. When the Gibeonites surrendered, Joshua saved them from certain death. Look at the language of the Gibeonites in Joshua 9:24: “They answered Joshua, ‘Your servants were clearly told how the Lord your God had commanded his servant Moses to give you the whole land and to wipe out all its inhabitants from before you. So we feared for our lives because of you, and that is why we did this. We are now in your hands. Do to us whatever seems good and right to you.”

They Hardened Their Hearts

But although the southern and northern confederations heard of the advance of the kingdom of God, they did not surrender. “Except for the Hivites living in Gibeon, not one city made a treaty of peace with the Israelites, who took them all in battle. For it was the Lord himself who hardened their hearts to wage war against Israel, so that he might destroy them totally, exterminating them without mercy, as the Lord had commanded Moses” (Joshua 11:19-20).

This is a sobering thought. If a person hardens his heart, God then hardens it more until he destroys that person. That is the severity of God. Pharaoh hardened his heart, and he was destroyed. All those who hardened their hearts were destroyed. That is why we must examine our own hearts. What happens when we hear the gospel? Are our hearts softening or hardening?

In spite of the news of total devastation around them, these kings decided to fight against God. The ringleader of the northern confederacy was Jabin king of Hazor, whose name means “brilliant one,” and Adoni-Zedek led the southern group. But the Scripture says, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20). God destroys the wisdom of the wise; to them, the message of the cross is foolishness. Adoni-Zedek and Jabin decided to oppose Joshua and Israel, and the One enthroned in heaven merely laughed.

Did these kings win? Of course not. Joshua and Israel won. The captain of the Lord’s army won. So we read this terrible story of the utter extermination of the arrogant inhabitants of the land of Canaan.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will give us a fear of this great God, so that when God speaks, we will respond like Samuel: “Speak, Lord, your servant hears to do it.” The Bible says God is able to take our stony hearts out and give us hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19).

They Were Hanged

“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you'” (Joshua 10:8). God is not afraid of anyone, for he is the Sovereign Lord. He opposes all arrogant people who want to declare their independence from him and who look upon his law as fetters and chains when, in truth, it is given for our liberty.

In Joshua 11:6 God told Joshua again, “Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.” I hope we will change our conception of God.

Joshua 10:11 tells us what happened to this coalition who thought they could win against God: “As they fled before Israel on the road down from Beth Horon to Azekah, the Lord hurled large hailstones down on them from the sky, and more of them died from the hailstones than were killed by the swords of the Israelites.” Oh, the severity of God! We should be well aware of this. Suppose a father tells his son how to live, and the son mocks, despises, and disobeys his father. That son is not mocking his father; he is mocking the living God. He should be wary of God’s severity.

As the Lord hurled down hailstones, these five arrogant kings began to run for their lives. They hid themselves in a cave in Makkedah, thinking they could hide from God. Again, we see their faulty theology. God knows all things; everything is laid bare before him. The psalmist rightly asked, “Where can I flee from your presence?” (139:7). There is no place in the universe where we can hide from God.

Joshua brought out the kings and threw them down to the dust. Then Joshua called the leaders and said, “Come here and put your feet on the necks of these kings” (10:24). This public humiliation boosted the morale of God’s people. But that was not the end of it. Then Joshua struck and killed these five unbelieving kings who had thought they could defeat Joshua. Even so, the greater Joshua, the Lord Jesus Christ, will deal with all who oppose his kingdom’s advance.

Joshua was required to obey the Scripture; thus, he followed the instructions given him in Deuteronomy 21:22: “If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight.” He killed the five kings and hung them on trees, because they were cursed people. Then they were taken down, and the cave in which they had hidden became their tomb. How foolish to think that anyone can get away with lawlessness.

These three chapters in Joshua teach us how important it is to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are living at a time when Jesus is seen as one who will not judge sin. I hope that after studying these chapters we will have a different view of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is both severe and kind.

Joshua 10:28 says, “That day Joshua took Makkedah. He put the city and its king to the sword and totally destroyed everyone in it. He left no survivors.” This was exactly what God commanded them to do in Deuteronomy 7 and 20. Oh, the severity of God! When one refuses to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, he makes himself a candidate to experience the severity of God.

Joshua 10:29-30 tells of the fate of another city: “Then Joshua and all Israel with him moved on from Makkedah to Libnah and attacked it. The Lord also gave that city and its king into Israel’s hand. The city and everyone in it Joshua put to the sword. He left no survivors there.”

Then Joshua moved on, and in 10:32 we read, “The Lord handed Lachish over to Israel, and Joshua took it on the second day. The city and everyone in it he put to the sword, just as he had done to Libnah.” And we can go on reading about how Joshua destroyed Gezer (10:33); Eglon (10:35); Hebron (10:37); Debir (10:39); and then the entire northern coalition (11:12).

What about Hazor, the most important city in Canaan? “At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor and put its king to the sword. (Hazor had been the head of all these kingdoms.) Everyone in it they put to the sword. They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed” (Joshua 11:10-11). Then the Israelites burned Hazor, as they had done to Jericho and Ai.

What about the Anakim, a tall people the spies spoke about forty years earlier: “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are. . . . The land we explored devours those living in it. . . . All the people we saw there are of great size. . . . We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Numbers 13:31-33). To the unbelieving spies it seemed impossible to defeat them. But in Joshua 11:21-22 we read, “At that time Joshua went and destroyed the Anakites from the hill country: from Hebron, Debir and Anab, from all the hill country of Judah, and from all the hill country of Israel. Joshua totally destroyed them and their towns. No Anakites were left in Israelite territory.”

It was not Joshua or Israel who conquered these people; it was the captain of the Lord’s army, the Lord himself, who comes against all who oppose him.

Hanged by the Lord Himself

Notice, the Lord himself hanged these kings. These chapters are not a report of Joshua and Israel going on a rampage and committing genocide against the Canaanites. No, when his patience ran out, the Lord himself destroyed the people of Canaan after they persisted in living in sin for four hundred years. (PGM) He has the right to judge, and he poured out judgment. So we need to ask again: Have we sufficiently appreciated the biblical teaching that Jesus is Lord? He is Savior because he is Lord. Lord means sovereign-he has all authority in heaven and on earth to do what he pleases.

To the Athenian intellectuals, Paul said in Acts 17:30, “In the past God overlooked such ignorance,” that is, the ignorance of idolatry, “but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” There is only one Savior, one God, one Lord of all the earth. And he does not beg; he commands all people everywhere to repent. “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.”

The resurrection of Christ is the proof that God is going to judge us by the One whom he raised from the dead. Jesus Christ alone is Judge, and he is going to judge all people everywhere. In Romans 2:16 Paul says this judgment “will take place on the day when God judges men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.” When he returns, this Jesus shall declare to the wicked, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

In this company of wicked people shall be many professing, but false, Christians who believe in salvation without repentance and saving faith. They are those who believed the lies of foolish preachers who told them, “Just accept Jesus; you can still carry on with your sin.”

The entire Bible presents God as a mighty warrior. Exodus 15:3 declares, “The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.” And Exodus 14 clearly states that it was the Lord who fought against the Egyptian hordes and defeated them. Deuteronomy 20:4 says, “For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” In Joshua 5:13-15 we read that Joshua encountered a man with a drawn sword who revealed himself as the captain of the Lord’s army. This One commanded Joshua, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy.” It is the Lord himself who comes to fight against every unbeliever, and he shall win.

The Lord Himself Judges

Joshua 10 tells us what happened to some of Israel’s enemies: “The Lord threw them into confusion” (v. 10), “The Lord gave the Amorites over to Israel” (v. 11), “The Lord your God has given them into your hand” (v. 19), “The Lord handed Lachish over to Israel” (v. 32), “All these kings and their lands Joshua conquered . . . because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel” (v. 42). And Joshua 11:6 tells us, “The Lord said to Joshua, ‘Do not be afraid of them, because by this time tomorrow I will hand all of them over to Israel, slain. You are to hamstring their horses and burn their chariots.'” I am sure such actions would not be popular today. But God alone is sovereign; he does what he pleases, and all that he does is just. He does all things for his own manifest glory, and he receives glory in his judgment as well as in his salvation.

Joshua 11:8-9 say, “And the Lord gave them into the hand of Israel. They defeated them and pursued them all the way to Greater Sidon, to Misrephoth Maim, and to the Valley of Mizpah on the east, until no survivors were left. Joshua did to them as the Lord had directed: He hamstrung their horses and burned their chariots.”

The Lord himself did this-the infinite, personal, self-existing, self-sufficient, almighty covenant God. It was not just Joshua, but the Lord who threw these mocking, confident, mighty people into panic and confusion. The Lord himself hanged those who heard but hardened their hearts. Joshua was simply a delegated authority; those who defied him were defying the Lord. But all who defy God will experience his severity both here and hereafter.

The Lord surely is the great warrior. We need to rid our minds of all wrong theology and come back to the reality of the Scriptures. We must understand the severity as well as the kindness of the Lord.

The Final Judgment

The Lord never changes; he is immutable. The Lord of the Old Testament is the Lord of the New Testament. In the book of Revelation John gives us a clear picture of who this Lord Jesus is:

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16)

We never think of Jesus as one who makes war against his enemies. But here we see that he is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the ruler with an iron scepter. And what is he doing? Meting out the wrath of God.

Do you fear, son? Do you tremble, daughter? Enough to forsake your sin, enough to respond to him in obedience, enough to keep you from sinning? How many churches are there whose sole purpose is to make going to church fun? Such churches understand that people like fun, and they also understand that fun comes through sin. Thus, the church will say nothing about how one should live. A person does not have to forsake evil; he can have his sin and still be known as a Christian. Such churches do not exercise any; in fact, they do not preach the true word of God.

Verse 17 continues, “And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God so that you may eat the flesh of kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great.'” That is what we find in Joshua 10-12. Those chapters are pointing to this final triumph of our Lord.

All judgment is given to Jesus Christ. He knows everything that we have done, said, and thought; there are no secrets. In Revelation 20 we read,

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (vv. 11-15).

See the severity of God! It is foolish to think that God is only love. God permits us to sin to our hearts’ content-for the time being. The lake of fire is empty now, but the time is coming when it will be filled. It is designed for the devil and his angels, as well as for every person who served the devil rather than the Sovereign Lord.

The Lord Himself Was Hanged

The Canaanite kings heard the offer of salvation, they hardened their hearts, and they were hanged by the Lord himself. But that is not the end of the story. Another one was hanged-the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He never killed anyone, he went about doing good, yet he himself was killed and hanged on a tree. What is the meaning of his death?

Jesus Christ was the suffering servant who was obedient even to the death of the cross. Recall how the five wicked kings were ordered to lie down in the dust. The leaders placed their feet on their necks, publicly humiliating them. Then they were killed and hung on five trees until the evening.

That is the type of death Jesus Christ experienced on our behalf. The eternal Son of God became incarnate so that he may die for our sins. He who knew no sin died the accursed death of the cross. But the truth is, the curse belongs to us, for Deuteronomy 27:26 says, “Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this law by carrying them out.” Everyone who does not fulfill the law in its entirety all the time is cursed. That particular scripture condemns every man except the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the lawless ones and deserve to die the accursed death of the cross.

Why, then, was he who knew no sin crucified, suffering the death of an accursed one upon a cross? We are given the meaning in several places, but especially in Galatians 3: “All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: [and here Paul is quoting Deuteronomy 27:26] ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law'” (v. 10). Then we are told, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (v. 13).

So now the meaning is very clear: Jesus Christ died on the cross for our salvation, to spare us from eternal damnation and the lake of fire. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him. By his death he destroyed death forever for the elect people of God. Christ loved the church and gave himself for her. By his death he defeated forever all our enemies once and for all.

What if you are a hardened rebel, rejecting the gospel and refusing to repent? Then your place will be under the feet of Jesus Christ, and he will, in due time, mete out his severity on you. We can never win against him. Colossians 2:15 tells us, “Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Christ’s death of the cross was a triumph, for by it Christ destroyed death and all enemies. Christ is risen, Christ is victor, and Christ is Lord. He is the Savior, but never forget-he is also the Judge. Everything is placed under his feet.

Hear, then, the gospel: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” It is coming with power. The King has come to save and to judge. Yes, he softens hearts, but he also hardens the hearts of those who will not listen to him. As the Canaanites heard the news of Joshua’s triumphs, so we are to hear and tell others of the triumph of Jesus over all his enemies. We must speak about repentance, for there is no salvation without it. As Jesus himself did in Luke 13:3, we are to tell people, “Repent or perish!” And everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord, as Rahab and the Gibeonites did, will be saved.

Our Responsibility

What, then, is our responsibility?

First, we ourselves must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. If you have not done that, I urge you to do so today. If you have never feared this Christ, do so now. Fall down before him and surrender to him. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, for his anger may flare up at any moment. What guarantee do you have that you will live tomorrow? It is urgent that we do the one thing needful. And if you are a Christian but practice sin, you must repent and turn to God.

Second, we must proclaim the gospel. Joshua was charged to kill, but our responsibility is to proclaim the gospel and urge people to be saved. We must tell them, “Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Kiss the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Surrender to him and be safe from his wrath. But if you harden your heart against the Sovereign Lord Jesus, you shall be judged by him.” God commands all people everywhere to repent and seek refuge in Jesus. He does this as we preach the gospel. So when anyone shares the gospel, God himself is commanding repentance through that person. And although we do not kill anyone, the very gospel we proclaim becomes the smell of death to those who do not believe; while to others, the elect of God, it is the fragrance of eternal life.

Third, we must put to death any known sin in us. We are not to feed sin; we are to kill it! Second Timothy 2:19 says, “‘The Lord knows those who are his’ and ‘Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.'” We have a responsibility to live holy lives worthy of our heavenly calling by mortifying daily the evil that is within us. We do so by the power of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:17 reminds us that sin still dwells in us: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other.” There is a conflict going on within us, so we have to wage war. Romans 8:13 tells us, “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” We must fight sin until the day we die. So the modern view that a Christian can continue in sin and be saved, is false. God commands us, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” Anything else is a doctrine of demons.

Finally, think about what awaits us when Christ comes again. It should cause us to tremble.

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed [at his second coming] from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

Consider the kindness and the severity of God-severity to those who rebel, but kindness to us, provided that we continue in him. Amen.