“YHWH reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity. YHWH is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Yahweh, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:7-10
Perhaps one of the most undervalued and underappreciated qualities of God is that He is the King who judges. One of the reasons for this, I think, is that so many have come to hear and think of judgment primarily or exclusively as punishment for wrongdoing. What David was celebrating in this song of praise to his faithful God was that He was the One who would guarantee justice in this world so rife with wickedness and injustice.
Of course, the just judge must call out and then punish sin and wickedness: justice demands that. Yet, judgment goes beyond this. Judgment also acknowledges the innocence of those who have been wrongly abused or wronged. Bring to light wrongs done so that those who have lost what is rightfully theirs receive it back, or names maliciously slandered are vindicated and restored. Judgment is the foundation of any good kingdom or government in which its people can live securely and confidently.
Have you ever been wronged, Disciple? Have you ever been wrongly accused of being the wrong kind of person or of doing the wrong thing? Have you ever been frustrated by seeing a guilty person getting away with their wicked deeds? If so, you can appreciate the joy David had in meditating on the truth that there is a just and wise King who promises to reveal all that’s hidden – good or bad – and deal with it just as it ought to be dealt with. He cannot be bribed nor can He be manipulated. What a comfort!
This is not just an encouragement, however; it is also a challenge. Knowing that the King of all the earth sits as Judge over all its peoples and nations, you must choose to stand down when you’re tempted to be the judge of others. You must do as the apostle Paul instructed by the authority of the One who commissioned Him:
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
Ultimate justice is the work of Another, and we will trust Him to accomplish it perfectly at “the appointed time”. Until then, we will endure injustice against ourselves with meekness and love even as we seek to bring about justice for others. We will, like David, live in the hopeful and joyful reality that YHWH, our God, has “established His throne for judgment” and “judges the people with equity”. There is no one more fit to be Judge than He.
Grateful, with you, to be subject to this kind of King,