The Judgement of Getting Exactly What We Want

Things that are otherwise good or neutral that we chase after and desire – that the Lord has been keeping us from for our own good – that he eventually gives to us. In the end, he may give them to us so that we realise the Lord was keeping us from the things for our good, not to ruin our fun. He isn’t saying the thing is bad, but that it perhaps is not good for us. 

I am convinced that there are times God gives us exactly what we want, not because it is a good thing for us, but because he is giving us over to that thing as a judgement. There can be times we ask, push and go after things that God would keep us from. The thing may be an otherwise neutral thing that God, in his goodness, is keeping us from. It may be an ostensibly good thing that simply wouldn’t be good for us. It may be a bad thing, that would be bad for anyone, but we have decided it looks particularly good. Sometimes God gives us the desires of our heart so that we can see just how unappealing it is.

The Lord did this specifically to his people in Israel:

But my people did not listen to my voice;
Israel did not obey me.
So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts
to follow their own plans. – 

But he appears to do this in the New Covenant too:

because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. – 

You can read the rest of  to see how God might give people over to different things. The very going after of these things, and then getting them, is itself a judgement upon them. That seems to be what Paul is referring to when he says they ‘received in their own persons the appropriate penalty of their error.’ The very things that they do, they very natural consequences of their choices, constitute a judgement of their own.

Of course,  and  are both concerned with those going after sinful behaviours. They are, frankly, the sort of outward sinful behaviours that most Christians rightly understand to be a problem. Few of us who claim to love Jesus will be literally bowing down to Baals nor engaging in some of the more base aspects of .

Where we are more likely to hit upon problems is less in the going after specific sinful behaviours – though I don’t pretend that we are immune from that – but rather that we will be driven by sinful desires and motives towards ostensibly good or neutral things for bad reasons. The Lord, in his goodness, may keep us from those things – knowing that they wouldn’t be good or helpful to us –

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