Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
– Ecclesiastes 8:11
Be sure your sin will find you out.
– Numbers 32:23
He sat waiting just outside the circle of the streetlight, poised in the shadows like a viper in black.
I happened to see him as I pulled up to a stop sign and waited for the traffic to clear. I was careful to signal and look both ways before pulling out onto the highway.
Before I did, though, a shockwave of blue and red lights erupted in the night sky. The trap was sprung on a car that had just accelerated by me as I waited. I pulled out, switched lanes, and maneuvered past the police cruiser and the fast little red Corvette sitting in misery in its headlights.
Swift justice is sweet—if I’m not the one in the hot seat.
We all love to see justice served quickly. We just want it served on someone else. We’re hoping for mercy for ourselves. After all, we can come up with some good excuses for the bad decisions we make. Most of us tend to magnify the sins of others and minimize our own, and it frustrates us when we are caught in our misdeeds while others appear to skate unscathed past the rules. It’s especially frustrating when God seems to ignore injustice around us.
There are at least two reasons God’s justice comes slowly:
God does not take pleasure in punishing people.
2 Peter 2:9 tells us “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” He holds open the door as long as possible before He shuts it. He gives us every chance to turn away from sin. He longs to show us mercy.
Slow justice reveals our hearts.
Will we serve God out of love, or out of fear? If He holds back disciplining us, will we praise Him for His patience or push the limits of our boundaries even farther?
To what will our hearts be fully devoted, if given the chance?
God alone is capable of perfectly executing righteousness with mercy. He sees the end from the beginning and the deepest motive of the whitest heart. He loves deeply and works endlessly to bring justice to His beautiful Earth.
In His time.
Though the mills of God grind slowly;
Yet they grind exceeding small;
Though with patience He stands waiting,
With exactness grinds He all.
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow