'The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.'
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice before the Lord.
For He is coming,
for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His truth." Psalm 96:10-13
I wonder when God made it known that He would come to judge the world in righteousness? When He would redeem the earth from the clutches of sin and decay? Here are some passages that I explored this morning...
After the Flood, God blessed Noah and his sons and gave them a command not to drink the blood of an animal. God said that, "Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man." Genesis 9:5. God said that He would demand a reckoning from murderers. Does this always happen during a person's lifetime? If not...then there must be some time when justice will prevail.
There are a number of cases in the early days when God judges nations or when people make vows and ask God to judge them if they break their promise. For example, God reveals to Abram that He will judge the land of Egypt because they would oppress the Hebrews for 400 years (Genesis 15:14). God also judges Sodom, but rescues Lot from the destruction (Genesis 18:25). Abraham's grandson Jacob takes a vow with Laban and asks that God judge between them (Genesis 31:52-53). These are cases of people and nations that were judged within the time frame of history as we know it. But what of the coming judgment? How did people know that this was coming?
Job wrestled with this. This life often seems so unjust. Where is justice? "Why do the wicked live and become old, yes, become mighty in power?" Job 21:7 "For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath." Job 21:30 "Be afraid of the sword for yourselves...there is a judgment." Job 19:29
But where is this judgment? Where is God? "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." Peter reminds us "that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." 2 Peter 3:4-7 So why is it taking so long to come? Because the Lord is patient toward us, desiring that "all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
So "we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." 2 Peter 3:13 That's why the heavens rejoice and the earth is glad, why the seas roar and the fields are joyful. Because a righteous king is coming who will destroy wickedness (Revelation 19:11) and sin (1 Peter 2:24) and the curse (Romans 8:20-21) and death (Isaiah 25:8). We eagerly await our King, who is also our Savior (Isaiah 25:9) and the Door (John 10:9) to the Presence of God and to life.
Sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples." Psalm 96:1-3