We’ve been looking at the God of the psalmists for several weeks. We probably need a quick reminder of what this is all about. For centuries, Christians have turned to the Psalms to learn to pray and to improve in prayer. Filled with prayers of all kinds, it is a natural place to turn. We have learned if we want to pray more like the psalmists, we must begin by believing in the God the psalmists believed in. Last week, we learned that they saw God as the source of all things. This week, we note they prayed because they viewed God as the judge.
God, the Awesome Judge, Worthy of Praise
Psalm 96 really nails home the connection between God as creator and judge. It is a natural connection. If God made the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them, then God gets to hold all that is in them to account. The psalmist saw idols made by men and realized they are worthless. However, our God made the heavens. Our God made us. That leads to the following conclusion:
Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
Interestingly, unlike modern feeling, the psalmists did not view God as judge as a negative thing. When we hear “judge” today, we think of awful connotations. Not so the psalmists. They were glad to sing of God as the judge. They knew God would judge in righteousness and with faithfulness. Who else could they possibly want as judge but God?
God is not just a judge. He is the judge. Therefore, He is worthy of great praise and honor. How could they not pray to Him?
We Can Turn to the Judge To Avenge the Wicked
Psalm 94 demonstrates another reason the psalmist turned to God since He is judge.
O LORD, God of vengeance,
O God of vengeance, shine forth!
Rise up, O judge of the earth;
repay the proud what they deserve!
There is a lot of evil in the world. Sinners abound who try to overthrow those who lean on God. When we finally become rigorously honest, we realize we cannot defeat these enemies. We have only one place to turn. God. He is the creator. He is the ruler. He is the source. He is the judge. Despite the despair the psalmists often had because they didn’t believe God was acting quickly enough, they still maintained the faith that in the end, God would rise up and vindicate those who relied on Him, judging and punishing those who mistreated His people.
Perhaps this helps us with some of those pesky imprecatory psalms (the psalms in which curses are called down on enemies). The psalmists themselves did not take their own vengeance. They did not judge in that final sense. However, they knew to whom they could turn. They could turn to God. Let God know what was going on in their heart and trust God to do what was right. It was not their place to take vengeance. It was God’s. He is the judge, not us. Therefore, instead of seeking personal vengeance, they turned to God. They trusted God to do what was right.
The Great Comfort of God the Judge
The great comfort we can take from God being the judge is revealed in Psalm 75:2. “At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.” Our God is impartial. He judges with equity. The great judge of all the earth will do what is right. We can trust that. He will not judge improperly. We can entrust our souls to Him. Further, we don’t have to worry that He will offer some special status to other differently from us. He will judge rightly. The same could not be said for the rest of us.
Frankly, I’m glad God is the judge and you’re not. In like manner, you should be glad God is the judge and I’m not.
God is judge. Let us praise Him today.