Make no mistake. The Bible is full of great messages of comfort and joy. Two generations ago, Robert Schuller built a ministry on reading the Bible through the power of positive thinking. He simply applied a Christian overlay to Norman Vincent Peale's secular philosophy of positivity. And it wasn't a hard thing to do. Because there is so much that is affirming in the Bible. There's help for marriages and advice for money management and hope for the downtrodden and encouragement for the depressed and so many other avenues for meeting people's emotional needs. It's all there.
Yet that is only half the story. There's always the flip side of the coin:
We understand love because we understand hate.
We understand truth because we understand lies.
We understand goodness because we understand wickedness.
We understand reward because we understand punishment.
God cannot love righteousness and faith unless He hates sin and unbelief.
God cannot love goodness unless He hates wickedness. And on and on. You get the point.
Remember, as we said two weeks ago, Jesus said more about hell than anybody else. In fact, here's a helpful thing to remember:
WHILE THE BIBLE IS A BOOK OF HOPE, IT IS ALSO A BOOK OF JUDGMENT.
Let's start with Revelation 16:1-11: