Kings and Judgment
In King David’s final prayer in the Book of Psalms, (Psalm 72) he prays for the kings who would come after him to occupy the throne of David. It is sure that David was thinking of his son, Solomon, but it is also likely that he had some inkling of the Great King to come, Messiah.“Endow the king with Your justice, O God, the royal Son with Your righteousness,” was the cry of David’s heart.
We are familiar with the way King Solomon chose wisdom over riches when given that choice. Judgment became the fame of Solomon’s court—justice—wisdom put to work in a useful cause.
A Foolish, False Hope
It is difficult to think of a word that is more distasteful to the public taste than “judgment.” No one wants to be judged by anyone. A judgmental attitude is universally detested. People do not want to be held responsible for their deeds or words or tastes or values.
- All of these public things are really private—nobody’s business but the individual.
- As long as one doesn’t hurt someone else, anything goes.—Right?
A necessary corollary to this belief is the hope that there is no such thing as a Final Judgment:
- When we are dead, it is all over. We fall into nothingness, the oblivion of non-existence.
- All the words we have spoken, all the deeds we have done, the sins committed, the hatred harbored in our hearts, the prejudice and ignorance we chose to live with, all of these things and more will plunge into oblivion with us.
- So, live for the moment; it is all we really have.—Right?
Such nonsense! Such a false hope!
There is a judgment to come.
Everyone who walks this earth leaves footprints. Every person who holds to someone else for a moment or for years of time leaves finger prints. Every word spoken into the heart of another person is inscribed there for good or for evil. These pain-prints remain after we are gone. In this way the sins of the fathers and mothers are visited upon their children to the third and fourth generations.
But there is One who volunteered to take the judgment we deserve upon Himself. We famously say that Grace is amazing because by His Grace we can stand before God as if we had never sinned. By His blood we are declared “not guilty” and through His Spirit we are made holy in a life-long process of being conformed to His image—our sinful rags stripped away and gleaming robes of righteousness provided in their place.
Yet injustices remain.
Believers do not always win. I don’t understand it, but we are told in the Bible that part of following Jesus involves something called “the fellowship of His sufferings.” I don’t know how it can be true since Jesus declared, “It is finished!” from the cross. Yet, sometimes it seems the enemy triumphs over us, that sin defeats righteousness, that destiny denies grace. But these chapters end only to have a new page added to the narrative.
The story isn’t over at times like these.
- We simply rest in faith, trusting Jesus to do the necessary repairs and get us going again.
- He will defend the afflicted and save the children of the needy.
- He will crush the oppressor.
- He is like a gentle rain refreshing the earth.
- One day righteousness will flourish.
All is not lost. On the contrary, we are safe in the cradle of His Judgement.
Psalm 72:1; 17-200 NIV
Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice….May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.
Philippians 3:7-11 NKJV
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. … that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
2 Corinthians 5:9-10 NIV
So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
For Social Justice
(from The Book of Common Prayer)
Grant, O God, that your holy and life-giving Spirit may so move every human heart [and especially the hearts of the people of this land], that barriers which divide us may crumble, suspicions disappear, and hatreds cease; that our divisions being healed, we may live in justice and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let Me Touch Him
Words and Music: Vep Ellis
1. Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus
Let me touch Him as He passes by
So when I shall reach out to others
They shall know him They shall live and not die
Oh to be His hand extended,
Reaching out to the oppressed.
Let me touch Him, let me touch Jesus,
So that others may know and be blessed.
2. I was straying so far from Jesus
I was lonely, had no peace within
Then the hand of my savior touched me
Now I’m reaching to others in sin
3. There’s a river, a river flowing
From within and to cleanse my soul
And the flow sets my heart to glowing
Holy spirit, more than silver or gold.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved