Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice! Let the sea and everything in it shout his praise! Let the fields and their crops burst out with joy! Let the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he is coming! He is coming to judge the earth. (Psalm 96:11-13)
This psalm begins on a grandiose scale: Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to the Lord! Nothing less than “the whole earth” is to sing to the LORD. The verses continue to crescendo until, in these final few verses, all of creation joins in the song. The heavens are glad; the earth rejoices; the sea and all its creatures shout His praise; the fields and crops burst with joy; and the trees sing.
That is a pretty remarkable chorus.
But why are they glad, and why are they rejoicing? Why are they praising and singing? Because He is coming to judge. What? All of creation is getting stirred up, tuned up, and geared up because God is going to judge the earth? Frankly, I don’t see a reason for such a production. Doing all that for His love, or His grace, or His mercy—that I can see, and I would even join in. But judgment?
Now I’ve got to admit that my view of judges and judgment is a bit skewed. Because I look at such things in our country and I see little reason to rejoice. In fact there is a verse in Psalm 11 which describes our current state of degradation: “The foundations of law and order have collapsed. What can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:4)
The good news is Scripture tells us what judgment looks like—God-style.
God is an honest judge. (Psalm 11:7)
He will judge the world with justice and rule the nations with fairness. (Psalm 9:8)
It is God alone who judges; he decides who will rise and who will fall. (Psalm 75:7)
Rise up, O God, and judge the earth, for all the nations belong to you. (Psalm 82:8)
And at the end of the above Psalm it says: He will judge the world with justice, and the nations with his truth. (vs. 13b)
We see that God’s brand of judgment requires honesty, justice, fairness, and truth. If you just consider truth, and how it has been dismissed, is there any wonder why man’s judgment is critically flawed? It also says that He alone is worthy, and since everything belongs to Him, then He alone is rightful.
And when you see God’s version of judgment, then you realize that it will be something to rejoice about. But until that day comes, you must remember: The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. (1 Peter 3:9)
Now balance that with this request: They shouted to the Lord and said, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge the people who belong to this world and avenge our blood for what they have done to us?”(Revelation 6:10)
Fear His judgment, or praise His judgment. The choice is yours.