Psalm 96, judgment, conscience, humility

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Have you ever had your conscience condemn you? It pricks your heart and whispers that your words or actions we not the right thing to do. Some of us quickly move to restore the relationships we’ve tarnished. Some of us stew on it for a while, and try to find justification for our words and actions, but ultimately cave to the pressure from within and admit wrongdoing. While others simply walk away convinced that their actions and words were what they were and move on.

Psalm 96:10-13

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    he will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
    let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
    let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for he comes,
    he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples in his faithfulness.

When I read this passage the first thing I saw was the 3 ways that God will judge.

  1. Judge the peoples with equity
  2. Judge the earth
  3. Judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness

,A judge is one who is able to wisely discern and decide between disputing things. One day our Great God, and King Jesus, will come as Judge. In the meantime, we are called to be Christ-like meaning we are to learn to judge rightly as well.

Proverbs 1:3 says that the book of Proverbs was given for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair. The best place to learn to be a wise judge is over your own heart, mind, words, and actions. Again, this leads back to discipline, learning and practicing right behavior and right living. Many people will say things like, “we don’t live under the law of God, Jesus came to fulfill it, therefore, I don’t have to do it. God knows I am not perfect. I’m not going to do everything right. ” And while that statement is basically true. Jesus said in John 16: But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.”

This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the world and in individual hearts; to convince and convict of these truths. Justice mean the exercise of authority in vindication of right by assigning reward or punishment. It also means the quality of being fair and just; having moral soundness and conformity to truth. Conformity to the truth comes from allowing the work of the Holy Spirit to be done in you. When we want to enact our own justice, we speak quick and harsh the truths we know, but the outcome brings more pain, more hurt, and more broken remains of relationship. God coming to judge has always been about restoration. Restoring the lost, the weak, and the broken to Himself.

If judgment was about destroying everything why would the psalmist say, “REJOICE, REJOICE!”

John 3:19  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Father, I will proclaim your salvation and that Jesus has come! This marvelous deed of salvation that you have done. Great is the Lord. You are most worthy of praise. Splendor and majesty are before you. Strength and glory are in your sanctuary. Your character is good! You are glorious and strong! I exalt the name of Jesus. The name above every name! I worship you! The Lord reigns over all. The world has been established by Him. You judge with equity, with fairness, and without partiality. The heavens, the earth, the sea, every field, every tree rejoice and sing for joy! You are judge over the earth. You judge with righteousness and faithfulness. Thank you, God, for sending your Son, Jesus, to die for my sin. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to convince me of righteousness and truth. I declare that you are God and there is no other. Jesus is King! Thank you for judging the evil one that he will not have dominion forever but that your Kingdom shall stand forever and ever. Teach me discernment, that I might know what is right, just, and fair. Let me judge rightly the affairs of my heart. Show me where I love darkness instead of light because my deeds are evil. Holy Spirit lead me and hold my tongue when my heart is harsh. Bring humility to every part of my soul that I might be led by you, Lord, and not self-righteously. Lead me with your peace that I might be a person of peace. Let me be a restorer of relationship rather than a renegade of truth.

Have you been soul-stirred by anger? Submit yourself to God and allow His ways to lead you. Let the Holy Spirit teach you to judge your own heart that you may walk in righteousness.

Thanks for Listening,

Starla

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

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