Have you ever wondered why evil people live so long? Why doesn’t God kill them and save humanity from people like Hitler?
11 “There are those who curse their fathers and do not bless their mothers;
12 those who are pure in their own eyes and yet are not cleansed of their filth;
13 those whose eyes are ever so haughty, whose glances are so disdainful;
14 those whose teeth are swords and whose jaws are set with knives
to devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among mankind.
I believe that the answer is in Ezekiel 18. The key verse is in the last verse:
32 For I take no pleasure in the [spiritual] death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
The whole chapter is about getting what you deserve. If you are evil, then when you die, you will be judged accordingly, and if you are righteous, then when you die, you will be judged accordingly. Sounds very Old-Testament, doesn’t it? But, then we come to verse 21 and that’s where we find the heart of God:
21 “But if a wicked person turns away from all the sins they have committed and keeps all my decrees and does what is just and right, that person will surely live [be judged as righteous in heaven]; they will not die. 22 None of the offenses they have committed will be remembered against them [at death]. Because of the righteous things they have done, they will live [spiritually]. 23 Do I take any pleasure in the [spiritual] death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
For the most part, mankind is given 70 years to turn from our wicked ways and turn to the LORD. In the U.S. 90% of men and 93% of women will live to be 70 years old. 62% and 71% live to be 80 (my parents were 82 and 83 when they died), and 22% and 34% live to be 90 (Robin’s parents are currently 90 and 87). We have it on record that God does take some people early because of their wickedness (Genesis 38:7), but for the most part, God allows humanity to live naturally for 70-80 years (Psalm 90:10). God gives them time to repent of their evil ways and turn to him. Peter restates this character trait of God in 2 Peter 3:9,
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
God has NEVER wanted His creation to perish. Even the Great Flood was a last resort, so to speak. God allowed humanity to come down to one man and his family–that in itself tells us just how wicked mankind had become! As long as there is breath in a person, he has the opportunity to repent and come to Christ.
One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” There is not a truer statement. Since Jesus and God are one along with the Spirit, we now know that God has always been GOOD even as He is GREAT. Let’s rejoice in having such a great God as our heavenly Father who invites us to be ONE with Him now and forever.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3-4
Abba, I praise You for Your patience and Your long-suffering. Your goodness knows no bounds! Thank You for offering to me eternal life through Jesus Christ my Lord. I particularly love the fact that I don’t have to wait until I die to reap the benefits of such a great salvation. I enjoy Your presence and participation in my life RIGHT NOW! I invite You, once again, to be my Guide and Companion. You lead; I follow. Amen.