Julian Freeman

Freed to live through the death of another.

Tag: judgement

How Could I Sin?

A prayer for growth in holiness:

Father, how could I sin?

Having seen your hatred for sin and your love for righteousness, how could I sin?

I have seen the fullness of your just anger borne by Christ for me. How could I be speak angrily to others?

I have seen your patience with me through decades of rebellion. How could I be impatient with others?

I have seen how you work the evil of others for good. How could I be bitter?

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A Thought on Imprecatory Psalms

Imprecatory Psalms are those Psalms we have in the Bible where the psalmist calls out for God’s judgement and curses on those who have done evil. The perpetual problem for Christians is, ‘How do we take these Psalms? Do we still use them? Can we really say these things about people? Are we supposed to desire God’s judgement on others?’

These are tough questions, indeed, and this is a topic that deserves far more thought than I’ll give it today. But in my own meditation this afternoon I’ve realized this:

Because God is righteous judge, who is altogether just, it is never wrong for us to long for justice.

Our problem, however, is that we don’t know what justice is.

Sure, we think we do. But the reality is that what we think of when we think of justice generally has more to do with what assuages our sense of ‘wrongness’ than it does with what establishes God’s ‘rightness’.

The downfall of simply thinking in imprecatory categories for those who work evil is that we’re all workers of evil. All of us have sinned and deserve God’s judgement. Any good in us is only because of the image of God impressed on us and the grace of God worked in our hearts. Any sense of justice we have is only present because God has given it to us. How then can we boast about our righteousness and another’s evil and long for them to be judged when we too deserve to be judged?

Ultimately, we must all beg mercy from God–yes, for the evil we’ve committed, but also because we don’t know what his justice established would really look like. Who could have guessed that he would use a cross to show his righteousness (Rom 3.21-26)? Who could have guessed that the innocent being slaughtered for the guilty would accomplish perfect justice (2 Cor 5.21; 1 John 2.2)?

Can I pray that someone would be damned?

It seems that the better question would be, ‘How can I pray for God’s justice to be shown?’ If David prayed for God’s justice, if Jesus came to accomplish God’s justice, and if God was so determined to show his justice that he crushed his Son, then I should be concerned with seeing it accomplished too. But I need to pray with humility. The cross, like nothing before, shows me that I understand very little of the vastness and comprehensiveness and complexity of God’s judgement–and his passion for showing mercy even in the midst of judgement. That’s a vastness, comprehensiveness, and complexity that I don’t get.

So we must be cautious. Pray for justice, yes, we must! But presuming to know what that justice looks like is a far bigger step. For now I’ll pray that God would cause his name to be revered as holy (Matt 6.9) however he sees fit, whether in the damnation or salvation of a particular sinner, I cannot know.

Ezekiel’s Warning

Ezekiel’s God

The warning Ezekiel offers to Israel and the surrounding nations is resoundingly clear. The Lord (Yahweh) will act decisively to make himself known. Even though all the nations rise up in rebellion against him, he will prevail and glorify his own name.

The Lord will do whatever it takes to make his name known. Sometimes that means mercy and grace to undeserving sinners. At other times it means he will exercise his wrath and judgement (which are just as much a representation of the holiness of his name as are mercy and grace).

Ezekiel’s warning should echo down through the ages and offer a sober reminder to us today. If the judgements he prophesied came to pass, then how dare we neglect the revelation that has come since? If judgement was sure at that time, then how much more now that the Lord has made himself known in and through Christ?

The picture of God that Ezekiel gives is a timely corrective to us. When we don’t see nations falling all around us and there seems to be no justice for the wicked it can be easy to forget that God will judge. We need to be reminded of the character of God. He will make his name known, whatever it takes.

To see that illustrated read the list of verses that follows.

 

The Whole World Will Know that I am the LORD

Ezek 5  13 “Thus shall my anger spend itself, and I will vent my fury upon them and satisfy myself. And they shall know that I am the LORD–that I have spoken in my jealousy–when I spend my fury upon them.

Ezek 6  7 And the slain shall fall in your midst, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 6  10 And they shall know that I am the LORD. I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them.”

Ezek 6  14 And I will stretch out my hand against them and make the land desolate and waste, in all their dwelling places, from the wilderness to Riblah. Then they will know that I am the LORD.”

Ezek 7  4 And my eye will not spare you, nor will I have pity, but I will punish you for your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 7  9 And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes.

Ezek 7  27 The king mourns, the prince is wrapped in despair, and the hands of the people of the land are paralyzed by terror. According to their way I will do to them, and according to their judgments I will judge them, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”

Ezek 11  10 You shall fall by the sword. I will judge you at the border of Israel, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 13  9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and who give lying divinations. They shall not be in the council of my people, nor be enrolled in the register of the house of Israel, nor shall they enter the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the Lord God.

Ezek 14  8 And I will set my face against that man; I will make him a sign and a byword and cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 15  7 And I will set my face against them. Though they escape from the fire, the fire shall yet consume them, and you will know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.

Ezek 17  24 And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the LORD; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it.”

Ezek 20  26 and I defiled them through their very gifts in their offering up all their firstborn, that I might devastate them. I did it that they might know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 20  44 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I deal with you for my name’s sake, not according to your evil ways, nor according to your corrupt deeds, O house of Israel, declares the Lord God.”

Ezek 21  5 And all flesh shall know that I am the LORD. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.

Ezek 22  22 As silver is melted in a furnace, so you shall be melted in the midst of it, and you shall know that I am the LORD; I have poured out my wrath upon you.”

Ezek 25  7 therefore, behold, I have stretched out my hand against you, and will hand you over as plunder to the nations. And I will cut you off from the peoples and will make you perish out of the countries; I will destroy you. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 25  17 I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I lay my vengeance upon them.”

Ezek 30  25 I will strengthen the arms of the king of Babylon, but the arms of Pharaoh shall fall. Then they shall know that I am the LORD, when I put my sword into the hand of the king of Babylon and he stretches it out against the land of Egypt.

Ezek 32  15 When I make the land of Egypt desolate, and when the land is desolate of all that fills it, when I strike down all who dwell in it, then they will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 35  9 I will make you a perpetual desolation, and your cities shall not be inhabited. Then you will know that I am the LORD.

Ezek 36  23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes.

Ezek 37  13 And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people.

Ezek 37  14 And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the LORD.”

Ezek 37  28 Then the nations will know that I am the LORD who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”

Ezek 39  7 “And my holy name I will make known in the midst of my people Israel, and I will not let my holy name be profaned anymore. And the nations shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel.

Ezek 39  22 The house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God, from that day forward.

Ezek 39  28 Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land. I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore.

 

 


This is a small, selected sample of verses from Ezekiel which speak of the Lord make himself known to Israel and to the nations. For a complete list, download my own compilation of these verses.


Scripture quotations from the Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.

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