TITLE: Crime and Punishment
DATE: January 16, 2019
TEXT: Ezekiel 18: 30-32 ESV - 30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin.[d] 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”
Years ago, I heard of a warden who was responsible for restoring order at a State Penitentiary which had been taken over by the inmates. One of the punishments he used was one which was tried-and-true.
That punishment was putting the bad guys in solitary and feeding them bread and water.
The problem was, the inmates started bragging about their days of punishment to show just how tough they were. You can almost hear them, “Two weeks on bread and water? That’s child’s play. I did four weeks on seeded-rye bread and water. Now that’s punishment!”
Well, that new warden ended all that bragging, by giving a punishment which matched a crime.
If the felons wished to behave like little children, he would treat them that way. From that time on, misbehavior would be marked by time in the solitary and a diet of canned baby food. It didn’t take too long for the bragging to stop.
Now the reason I remembered all that was because of the punishment a judge recently gave to David Berry Junior. Now if that name is unfamiliar to you let me enlighten.
David Berry is part of a gang of 14 poachers who have, in the last three years, killed hundreds of bucks in eleven counties in Missouri. This they did for the deer heads of trophy bucks. The hides and meat were left to rot.
Now Berry Jr. has been sentenced to one year in jail for his part in the family-gang of poachers. That part of the sentence was expected… what came next, was not. The Judge also ordered Barry Junior to watch the movie Bambi… once a month for entire year of his incarceration.
It was a decision the reporter applauded… just before he suggested: that Berry Junior also be fed venison three times a day for his entire year in the clink.
Now all this got me wondering,,, :Do you think the Lord does the same thing for us and our sins? If He does, what kind of punishment will He award to those who are guilty of taking His Name in vain or theft, or adultery or not remembering the Sabbath Day? And if He does give us punishments which match the crime, do the angels in heaven get a kick out of watching us go through some really silly penalties?
After doing some reading in Ezekiiel 18, I found an answer to my questions.
That there is punishment for our sin is a given. That the Lord knows and is aware of that punishment is also taken for granted. But here is where it gets interesting…. The Lord is far more interested in the Holy Spirit turning you away from your sin and living a life which honors the Savior and shows to the world what a change Jesus can make in the heart of a sinner.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord I commit many sins, all of which are deserving of punishment. Truly I rejoice that I have a Savior Whose great and gracious sacrifice has forgiven those sins so I might be welcomed into paradise. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
Today’s devotion was inspired by various articles, amongst which is the one written by Lisa M. Schaffer, Esq. on December 18, 2018 for Find Law. Those who wish may check out this link which was, at the time of writing, fully active: https://blogs.findlaw.com/legally_weird/2018/12/deer-poacher-ordered-to-watch-bambi-12-times.html#more
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html