One of the most prominent aspects of God’s nature in scripture is that of judge. This is one aspect of God that has become increasingly unpopular today in America, but it is one of the more important parts of who God is to us.
One of the reasons people have begun to reject God as judge is because we are offended that God would judge our actions and find us guilty, but this is not the context used much of the time in the Old Testament. God was Israel’s judge, the one who would find them innocent and save them. When Israel was in trouble, they would call out to the Judge of heaven and ask Him to judge between them and their enemies and find them righteous. Why were they righteous? Because of their faith in God, not in their actions.
David said this of those trying to turn him over to Saul:
1Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your strength.
2Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.
3For strangers have risen up against me,
And oppressors have sought after my life;
They have not set God before them.
The word for vindicate here is sometimes translated “judge.” That is because the Lord’s vindication is Him judging our actions against those of others and finding us righteous. He does not judge as men judge, based only on what we can see, but on what is in our hearts. David’s confidence was not that he was always right, but that his heart was set on the Lord.
The Lord will judge our hearts and find we who have faith in Him righteous. When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He took the punishment of God, who judges the unrighteous, for us. Because of that, we are forever righteous before God because of Jesus’ blood. This is why we can come confidently before His “throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16)
Isaiah says it very clearly in Isaiah 33:22. After telling Israel they would be judged by God and punished for their wicked actions, he then assures them that God would again judge them and find them righteous before Him and save them.
For the Lord is our Judge,
The Lord is our Lawgiver,
The Lord is our King;
He will save us
That is a bold proclamation for a people who had just been under the judgment of God for their wickedness to say that God would again judge them and save them. That is because the correctional judgment of God is temporary, but the salvation from the judgment of God is eternal.
Then in the end, as we’re told in the book of Revelation, God will judge all the world and separate the righteous from the unrighteous using just one criteria: who has accepted His Son?
We may go through hard times when God corrects us, because He judges and corrects those whom He loves (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6, Revelation 3:19), but we can always approach our judge because He will always find we, who put our trust in Him, righteous in the end.
Lord, teach us to embrace you as judge, for You surely will judge all the earth.