There are two pay days on my calendar. The first is when checks are deposited into my bank account. I like that pay day. The other is when my money is deposited into someone else’s bank account. The “due date” is often an ominous date. It is when the chickens come home to roost. It is when the cows come home. It is when the fat lady sings. It is pay day. Hosea writes, “The time of Israel’s punishment has come; the day of payment is almost here. Soon Israel will know this all too well.” (Hosea 9:7) My wife worked for a finance company in Memphis, Tennessee when I was in Graduate School. This loan office made small, short-term loans at some rather high interest rates. It was all legal. If a person was late, their card went in a special file. At that point she became a debt collector. She was good at it. She could find people and get them to come pay up, or at least pay the interest on the loan. A few times in my life I have received that piece of mail that says my bill has been sent to collections. Still dreaded is that letter from the IRS which says I owe even more taxes, and I am late.
We know a day of reckoning is coming. The debt will catch up to us. We will be dragged into court and thrown in jail until we can pay the last farthing. The prophets were the precursors to the debt collectors. The prophets were sent to tell Israel that their tab was getting high and pay up time was coming. We have all seen scenes where someone has a gambling debt. The boss sends someone to give them a friendly reminder that by this time next week you had better have the boss’ money. When the week is up, the real goons show up. They are there to take it out of your hide. We all have a debt we cannot pay, and He paid a debt He did not owe. He didn’t run up the bill. We did. Yet He must pay. He steps in between us and the goons, pulls out His wallet, takes out a wad of fifties and clears the debt. All He asks is that we stop running up the debt and join His team to go rescue other gamblers.
Judgment day is coming. Paul told the Athenians, “God overlooked people’s former ignorance about things but now He commands everywhere to turn away from idols and turn to Him. For He has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man He appointed, and He proved to everyone who this is by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31-32) Let that sink in. The clock is ticking. The due date is approaching. The time is drawing near. We are closer today to Judgment Day than we were yesterday. The last time I checked my moral bank account I was going to be short by a long shot. My cash flow is a little stopped up. My income is not keeping up with my outgo. I have assumed too many sin risks in my life. I am overextended. My overdraft protection needs some overdraft protection. My checkbook is so out of balance that it is about to fall over. That slippery slope has become a cliff. The hounds are at my door. The armies are encircling the city. The prophets are silent. I can’t hear the weather sirens for the roar of the tornado. The hurricane is making landfall. The judge’s gavel is about the fall. It is almost over. What was catching up to me has caught me. I am surrounded. It is either surrender or be shot. I’m down on my knees. I am begging now. I am crying so hard the snot is pouring out of my nose. The only word I can think of is “mercy.” I am throwing myself on the mercy of the court. I don’t have two nickels to rub together. I am a day late and a dollar short. My account has been closed for insufficient funds. My house is in foreclosure. My possessions are being sold. My wife and kids are being hauled away. It is the poorhouse for me. I am undone.
There is a sad day coming. People have forgotten that.