“Then began he (Jesus) to upbraid (rebuke) the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.” – Matthew 11:20-24
I once complained to God several years ago about why He had so much mercy on this particular person and yet was so strict on me. I had watched this person mess up so many times as God dealt with them with the greatest patience and mercy, yet when I even thought of disobeying in the simplest things, God would release His fury upon me like a whirlwind, quickly restoring me to wisdom through the fear of The Lord (Proverbs 9:10).
God could have chosen to answer my question the way He answered Moses, when He said: “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” (Romans 9:15) After all, He is God, He can do what He wants right? Surely He has a reason, and in Moses’ case God had plenty reasons. All of which led back to declaring His glory. For me however, the answer was not so subtle. When I asked God why He was stricter on me then on this other person, He replied, “Because you hear Me clearly, so you are without excuse.”
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:” – Romans 1:18-20
God is loving and merciful beyond measure, but He is also fearful and just. Who can search the depths of His understanding or withstand the might of His judgment? In our opening passage we see Jesus getting fed up and beginning to move from mercy to judgment. What drove Him to this point? It was the fact that those who were refusing to repent and obey, knew Him. They had seen His works, they had heard His voice, they had direct access to Him, so they were without excuse.
Don’t ever be so bold as to make excuses for not obeying God. He knows the heart, He knows when you know better. So many times I see people willfully sin or disobey what they know God is speaking to them saying, “o well, I’ll repent for it later”. This is a very dangerous game, not only can God choose not to hear that prayer, but to all those who know His voice and still choose not to listen, there is a greater damnation, a more severe punishment.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” – Matthew 23:14
So never close your ears to the voice of God when you know He is speaking, no matter what He ask you to do. For we will all one day be judged for our works and our obedience (or lack thereof), as well as be held accountable for every word that comes out of our mouth, (or fails too), and no matter what we try to say before an all knowing God, His response will be the same as Jesus’ to the cities in our opening passage… you knew Me, you saw My works, you heard My voice, you had direct access to Me, you are without excuse.