“There really is a God who judges the world.” Psalm 58:11b NCV
Imagine a world where people made decisions to do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, however they wanted, and expecting no recourse for their choices and actions. I can gather what you may already be thinking: “It seems like the world we’re living in!” It may not be quite that bad, but it does seem that in some ways in our contemporary American culture that more and more people behave as if we live in a world where there will be no reckoning, no accounting for the way we live our lives.
Many Jews in ancient Israel felt the very same way toward neighboring countries as many of us feel when we see a person living lawlessly before our very eyes. Ancient Jews were surrounded by nations who served other gods, who mocked and berated them for their allegiance to Yahweh, and who were engaged in all manner of ungodly ritual and conduct. As they worshipped Yahweh, they often heralded a simple truth: namely, that one day we will all have to give an account for our lives — all we did and failed to do.
The intellectual tides appear to have shifted when it comes to the notion of a God in heaven exercising judgment upon “seemingly well-meaning people.” Today, this is simply a foreign concept to many. But God is more than Loving; He is Righteous and Just, and will indeed execute judgment upon all humankind. Many a theologian have arrived at the conclusion that God indeed would not be loving were He to suspend judgment — enforcing his accountability — upon the creatures he has made. Apart from the presupposition and impetus that there is a Righteous Judge over and above us, what is there to prevent any person (or society for that matter) to slip into utter lawlessness? In all honesty, do we really believe in our heart of hearts that we will not have to give an account for our lives? Pity the society who should ascribe to such a notion. And Lord have mercy upon anyone who comes in contact with such a society.
Word for the Way:
God is real, and he will execute judgment.