“And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.” Ex. 9:22 KJV
For two years I worked under an English teacher whose greatest joy (it would seem) was to blaspheme God in the presence of his students. In class he would brazenly brag “I am not planning on going to Heaven. I am going to Hell where I can have a real party!”
I thought about him as I meditated on Exodus chapter 9. For me as for other born-agains Heaven is a climactic hope promised by a faithful God; But in many places the Bible affirms that those who hold this hope are in the minority. As sparkling a gem as Heaven is to me for most in our world what comes after this life is only “a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Heb. 10:27NIV
For many thinking about Heaven only exacerbates the painful knowledge that they are not going to walk her streets of gold. It is not just tears of loss that we see in the funeral parlor. We see too, tears of fear. The reaper has hit home. The ability to deny the approach of judgment has been disabled by the reality that death comes knocking at all our doors.
When Moses raised his staff to Heaven and called forth plagues upon Egypt, the Egyptians were not thinking about the glories of the kingdom. They shook in fear.
I was young when I sat under the professor. My thoughts toward him were, to my shame, rather unkind. If I were to work under him again today I could only look on him with pity. I understand now, his comments were nothing but a frail attempt to mask his hopelessness…to make light of what he saw as a no-win situation. If I had it do over again I would try to paint a brighter possibility for his future. After all, I know the truth about where the party is going to be, and I have spare door passes!
Let’s Pray: Dear Lord, thank you for including me in the eternal celebration! Remind me daily that there are many who have yet to be invited. Help me to share the truth about Jesus without fear at every opportunity. In Jesus name A-men!