“You yourself, O Lord, reward everyone according to his deeds”. – Ps 62:12 GNB
We have a saying in the English idiom that “What goes around, comes around”. It’s our way of saying that things even out in the long run. If you do a good turn, someone is bound to do you one. And if you do a nasty one you’d better watch out for it will come back to bite you.
The people of the Old Testament had worked that out in relation to God. He laid down the rules for human conduct in the Ten Commandments. And if you obeyed them God would be pleased and would bless you in some way that would benefit you materially. God was just and fair. That meant that also if you disobeyed him by failing to observe his law you could expect punishment in some form. Numerous examples could be cited that bore this claim out. In particular they were generally sure that any suffering you had to endure had to be a reward, i.e. a punishment, for some sin you had committed. God couldn’t be fooled with.
When Jesus came, his own suffering confounded this “strict justice” idea of God the Father. When he suffered on the cross it was not in punishment for anything he had done. He took our sins and bore them for us on the cross. Any good blessing we receive is out of his bounteous grace. And whilst sometimes a sin or mistake on our part may incur a reward (drunkenness may bring a consequence of an accident or a sore head), God more often blesses us than punishes us.
Obey God out of gratitude for his grace and mercy and serve him out of love and not fear.
Lord, help me to love and serve you.