Peace if possible. Truth at all costs. ~ Martin Luther

God’s Delight in Judgment

gavel“But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.”  (Jeremiah 9:24)

God reveals aspects of His nature in this verse, telling us things that He delights in. Now we rejoice in His lovingkindness, and we worship before His righteousness, but did you catch that word in the middle? God delights in judgment.

That’s startling, isn’t it?  The Hebrew word for “delight” comes from a root word meaning “to incline towards”. It’s the picture of a person who is anticipating, expecting – and so they sit forward on their seat. That’s what it says about God’s posture in judgment. He wants to do it.  He “delights in it”.

But doesn’t the Bible say that “God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked”? (Ezekiel 33:11)

Well, let’s think about what the word “judgment” here means. Judgment, of course, has its negative side (dispensing punishment to the wrongdoer), but it also has its very positive side. For every oppressor that is punished there is an oppressed one that is lifted up. The reason we have courts of law is NOT primarily to punish the wicked … it is to protect the innocent.

While God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, His glory is seen and He will be praised for all of eternity for His holiness in dealing with sin. Every holy inhabitant of the universe will rejoice in His complete destruction of evil.

God delights in judgment. Let’s apply it more immediately. Think of a king on His throne, seated in the place of judgment hearing cases and causes, rendering verdicts, upholding justice for the oppressed.

The Bible says of Solomon (in 1 Kings 3) that “the wisdom of God was in him to administer justice.” He would sit on his throne, and they would bring to him disputes between people – perhaps those that the courts had not been able to deal with. And Solomon would judge the case. As king he was the supreme arbiter, and his judgment was final. He acted like our Supreme Court.

That is the idea behind the word we read here in Jeremiah 9:24. God “delights in” that role. He looks forward to sitting on his throne in judgment.

I can understand earthly magistrates not delighting in that role. I imagine the burden of that responsibility must be odious at times. Of course there is honor that comes with being a judge, but some decisions are so difficult, and with such great consequences, who would want that job? In fact, surely only the most arrogant person, and one totally unfit to judge, doesn’t feel the burden of that work. It’s normal for judges to have moments when they do not relish what they have to do.

I guess that not even Solomon, with all his special gift of wisdom from God, always enjoyed sitting in judgment.

Why is that so? Why does man shrink from it? Because we are fallible. We recognize that. The greatest of men CAN and DO get it wrong. Frequently it happens.

But God never gets it wrong. He is the omniscient, all wise God! Therefore He “delights in judgment”. It is no burden to Him.

When we speak of God’s “omniscience”, what does that mean? Well, to a child in Sunday School we might simply say it means that “God knows everything”.  And that’s a good starting point. To flesh it out a little more, the theological definition of God’s “omniscience” has been stated like this: “In one effortless act, God knows instantly and perfectly all things that can be known.”

In other words everything (every deed, every truth, every fact, every thought of every mind and heart, every possible plan and course of action, and every possible outcome of each of those courses if they were to be taken) – EVERYTHING – is naked, open to the eyes of God.  Past, present and future – God knows everything.

He knows it all instantly and completely. God cannot learn, and you cannot teach Him anything. No-one can. God is never astonished or surprised. He’s never alarmed at what comes around the corner, because He already sees around the corner! There are no mysteries to God.

Furthermore, the definition says that He knows everything “effortlessly”.

Have you been with someone who can do something “effortlessly”? That’s a joy to watch, isn’t it?  God knows everything effortlessly. Nothing is harder for Him to understand, or more mysterious, than anything else.

God is omniscient.  Therefore He “delights in judgment”. It is no burden to Him.  Men should be reluctant to accept the role of Judge, but God never gets it wrong. He is the omniscient, all wise God!

What does this mean?  It means that we can confidently bring our cases to Him, and He will hear them and act on our behalf. He loves to do it.  He delights in it!

Who is He disposed toward? Who will He Judge on behalf of?  Those who trust in Him. Those who fear Him. Who do not boast in themselves (read the previous v23). “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)

SO, bring your hardest cases to God today. Even if you’ve come a thousand times before. God does not begrudge it. He “delights in judgment”.

Only come as we are told to in Hebrews 11:6, believing “that He is and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

If we would just get hold of this truth, how we would give ourselves to prayer!  It would transform you into a man or woman of constant prayer.  If you saw Him as the omniscient, omnipotent (all-powerful) God Who “DELIGHTS IN JUDGMENT”.

Phil

 

Comments

  1. Modern evangelicalism has disavowed itself from talking about God as a judge and as you have written, His delight to do so.

    Modern evangelicalism is guilty of portraying only God’s love and not His justice in equal measure, which I believe results in seeing more of a carnal nature rather than a strong spirit-filled nature, in the daily life of a Christian.

    I wonder how many Christians realize that God’s first act of judgment occurred in the Garden of Eden, which He delighted in doing. It’s amazing what the Spirit reveals, isn’t it?