Prior to sitting down and writing this article, I had a fairly in depth conversation with a friend of mine about Hell. Sadly, it was not about the city in Michigan, but about the actual idea of what Hell is as we find it in Scripture, and then spoken of inside our world. The amusing aspect is that as the conversation was going on we were/are living through an incredibly hot streak with heat indexes to run around 117 degrees. It's toasty.
What was generally agreed on in the discussion is that Hell is a place that we really don't want to be. Scripture provides us with the idea that Hell is a fiery garbage pit, Gehenna outside the city walls. Considering what the first century would have thrown away, this would have been a massive compost pile. There would be things in all manner of decay. The temperature would have been that hot, humid nastiness; even in the winter. The smell would have been rather unpleasant. This by itself is striking, yet we haven't even begun to fill in the lines. Perhaps, we don't even have all the lines on the page yet. In the parable the Rich Man and Poor Lazarus, we hear the Rich Man so thirsty that all he wants is a drop of water. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to enter into dehydration, and not be able to do anything about it. The misery would be unimaginable. Then, to consider that very reality of Hell itself is not about stink, or heat, or something else, but the complete absence of God... Think about Job. Satan was allowed to do what he wanted, except. God was in control. His divine control will have been released. It is an idea so horrific that it is truly inconceivable. Hell is going to be a pretty nasty place.
Psalm 121 is a lovely counterpoint to this. While the heat may be scorching outside, we take solace in knowing that God is fully in control. Even though the world seems to be losing its corporate mind, God still is upon His throne. Even though nations rage, and principalities roar, we take joy knowing that God is our vanguard. He Himself controls our goings out and our comings in.
The simple reality of the dog days of Summer is that we can consider Hell academically, because it is not our inheritance. Even though it's really hot outside, we celebrate knowing that Jesus Christ has cared for us. Psalm 121 tells us that He is our shade, He is our provider, and He is the one who hold us. Jesus has suffered the pain of Hell that, through His suffering and death we might rejoice in the joys of Heaven. Jesus has taken on all our old evil masters, and we are now free. Sin has been destroyed. Death has been laid down. Satan has been defeated. Brothers and sisters, it's all been done. There's nothing left for us to do but believe on the works of Jesus for us. As we receive this, He becomes our bread of life. He becomes the water that will never leave us thirsty. Jesus Himself becomes the tabernacle of God among His people. Praise God, that on these hot days, and on difficult days, we have the joys of heaven to look forward to.
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