You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 8:18-20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why do the nations perish? Why is Israel punished? Why do the nations rage and Israel disobey? Why do kings set themselves and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed? (Psalm 2) It’s because they hate the Gospel.
Those who rule and are ruled by endless to-do lists they know the piper must be paid. Justice must be dealt out. If there is any mercy to be had it only delays punishment. But God goes beyond the Law to make a new creation which marks the end of the Law. For nations who seek their righteousness and glory by something other than God’s promise to be their life and salvation, this is inconceivable. And so God comes in the flesh, not to repair any cracks in our justice system, but to burst the seams of the Law so that forgiveness, life, and salvation may pour out without anything to hold them back.
In this new kingdom of forgiveness God alone is Lord. By His blood, which the nations, even Israel, gladly shed to be rid of Him, there is redemption from sin and death and reconciliation for all people with God. This is how God meets all who would trample His corpse underfoot–not with a thunderclap of judgment, but with the words of the risen Christ: “Take and drink, this is the New Testament in my blood, given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sin.”
He comes to judge the nations, A terror to His foes, A light of consolations And blessed hope to those Who love the Lord’s appearing. O glorious Sun, now come, Send forth Your beams so cheering, And guide us safely home. (O Lord, How Shall I Meet You, LSB 334:6)