“The Church is... where the Lord is acknowledged, and where the Word is.” - The New Jerusalem and Its Heavenly Doctrine §242
Kempton New Church

September 2011

Dear Neighbor,

If you’d like a break, stop by the Autumn Weekends booth on Hawk Mountain Road for some good food and a little visit with neighbors, Saturdays and Sundays in October from 11:00 to 6:00. Spiritual food is served at services every Sunday at 10:00, and you are welcome.

The flooding this month might remind you of the Noah story. Genesis 6:6-7 gives a curious picture of God: “And it repented Jehovah that He made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at heart. And Jehovah said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from upon the faces of the ground… for it repents Me that I have made them.’” If God is love, how could it be that He was sorry He had created mankind and decided to destroy us?

In the book of Numbers we get a clue that perhaps the words in Genesis are not meant to be taken at face value: “God is not a man that He should lie, or the son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good?” (23:19; see 1 Sam. 15:29)

Jehovah God, or the Lord, never repents, because He foresees all things from eternity. He knew mankind would degenerate before He created us. His mercy is forever; His mercy includes everything He does in relation to human beings, both in our good times and our bad times.

Genesis is speaking according to how it seems to us. Merely human properties are often attributed to God in the Word, as that He punishes, leads into temptation, is angry and destroys, when yet He never does any of these things. He does not even look at us with a stern face, because He loves us. It is we who turn away from the Lord’s mercy.

It is true that God is in control of every situation. Evil does not overwhelm Him. So we start with the idea that God has all power. Afterwards we can learn that no evil ever comes from the Lord, much less killing people. Mankind brings evil on itself, when we let ourselves be driven by evil spirits of greed and lust of power. Evil inevitably comes back on a person who does it, because he has rejected the Lord’s protection and entered into an evil state. But the Lord turns all the evil of punishment into good.

May we learn to do mercy to each other, just as the Lord is always merciful to us.

Rev. Lawson Smith