You’ve heard all about the lake of fire, noise, smells,
God makes hell specific to the sinner
I think of a small farmer in the mountains of North Carolina who starves one of his horses. The others seem to do all right. He also has a grudge against a mule. The laws of the nation and state are inadequate here and even though the local Pound Manager knows and wants to charge this man, he has no legal opportunity.
We have no knowledge of his motives but God knows how to reward this man for his evil heart.
A personally designed hell
Here is what he can look forward to in hell. First there will be no nice grassy farmland, or cool mountain breezes; picture a noisy, feces encrusted city street, barking wolves and trash everywhere. But most of all God will see to it that this man is hungry, not just for a day or two, or even as long as this poor horse must suffer but for eternity. Hunger also requires water, but there is no water in hell.
There is no water in heaven
I know this because water is a symbol of Jesus Christ and the word of God. Jesus is the King of Hell so He may show up on occasion but He is not there to dip his finger in a dish of water for this farmer. And if this fellow perchance, also has a smoking and drinking habit he will be forever wanting a bottle of liquor and some cigarettes while he is there again for a time so long you and I cannot imagine it.
The cutesy notion that we get to party with our buddies, dance to country tunes with our favorite fallen fiddlers is a prettied up picture the devil tells his students. You might think the devil is in charge of hell; not so. God is in charge of everything, always has been.
After we die our choices are over
The bald fact is that after we die we lose all choice. The choice we make is here, on earth. Heaven is not a static place. The Bible says there are goings on there we cannot even imagine, although I try. I’d like to walk on the bottom of the sea for example, and maybe take a spin on the rings of Saturn. I want to talk to some Biblical scholars and ask questions about things I have not yet understood. I may or may not get any of those options.
God is under no obligation to allow me access to those things if my obedience to Him in this life has been less than He knew I was capable of. After all God has a plan for every life; your job is to find out what it is. And abusing animals or people, or money, or power, or addictions is not on the agenda.
Make your choices now
Oh yes, heaven will be heaven of course, so much better than we can imagine, but our freedom and our rewards will be limited by our obedience in this life. Just as the animal abusing farmer has no choice about his punishment, neither do we choose our rewards,
The best advice any preacher ever gave is this – Trust and obey for there’s no other way.