09 March 2009

Lenten Devotions: Judging "Judgment"

"Remember the wonderful works God has done, 
God's miracles, and the judgments God uttered."
Psalm 105.5

It took me a long time to find an image to accompany this post.

It wasn't for lack of trying.  But searching for images having to do with "God," "judgment," and "wonderful" brought up nothing I cared to disseminate and MUCH I'd have wiped off the internet if I could.  Let's just say that there are a lot of idiots out there who are both a) far too convinced that disasters are judgments on people who don't live like said idiots and b) said idiots are also gleefully happy about said 'judgments.'  Kinda makes the coffee I just slurped down burn a little more than I might like.  

I don't think this is what the Psalmist had in mind.  But it is curious that the psalmist would pair miracles and judgments in the "praiseworthy" category.  Miracles I can understand.  Judgments, also - but not for the "praiseworthy" category.  That's a stretch most of us wouldn't care to attempt.  Universal salvation - pre-destination - the bondage of the will - total depravity - all of these concepts and many more are various ways humankind has tried to wrap our heads around God's capacity for both judgment and mercy, and unfortunately all of us are susceptible to determinedly grasping the one that makes the most sense and shutting out all the others.  

The psalmist seems to be leaving a lot of room for praise - in some respects there's a lot of space between miracle and judgment.  I, too, want to leave room for praise, as it seems to me that both are necessary, praise-worthy acts of a God who is still actively involved in the world.  It seems to me that a God who will not judge is a God who will not act decisively, and I believe that God is anything but indecisive.  As Dr. Forde used to say, "Forget this business of deciding about Jesus:  God has already made a decision about you!"  

So, here we are at the end left with praise.  Praise for our God who accomplishes miracles - praise for our God who utters judgments - and that, I think, is what I'll end with today.  If Leviathan and Behemoth praise God in being who they are, should we not also do the same?  So, witnesses of miracles and hearers of judgments, we are called to praise; Hallelujah, in Hebrew - "Praise the Lord."  Amen.

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