Monday, November 16, 2009

God Is My Judge

As I was driving away from church today, for some reason my thoughts turned towards my first and middle names and their meanings. As a child I had a plaque hanging in my room that told me that my first name, Daniel, meant "God is my judge." I never fully comprehended what that meant, but usually when I thought of God being my judge I realized that I didn't really live up to the expectations that I thought were needed from a child of God. It was always a bit ominous--a dire warning, and "the fear of the the Lord" type of thing. But today, somehow I saw it from a new angle, from a completely different perspective. For the first time, the idea of God being my judge was a promise of comfort.

With God, there is only justice and mercy. With Christ's death, I no longer live under condemnation, by the grace and love of God! Over the years, I have found great solace in the the late twenties and early thirties of the Psalms. When I have been mired in sin, the enemy of our souls has been quick to point the finger of condemnation and accusation against me. I find this to be best described in Psalm 35. Verses 11-21 are below.

Ruthless witnesses come forward;

they question me on things I know nothing about.

They repay me evil for good

and leave my soul forlorn.

Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth

and humbled myself with fasting.

When my prayers returned to me unanswered,

I went about mourning

as though for my friend or brother.

I bowed my head in grief

as though weeping for my mother.

But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;

attackers gathered against me when I was unaware.

They slandered me without ceasing.

Like the ungodly they maliciously mockedb;

they gnashed their teeth at me.

O Lord, how long will you look on?

Rescue my life from their ravages,

my precious life from these lions.

I will give you thanks in the great assembly;

among throngs of people I will praise you.

Let not those gloat over me

who are my enemies without cause;

let not those who hate me without reason

maliciously wink the eye.

They do not speak peaceably,

but devise false accusations

against those who live quietly in the land.

They gape at me and say, “Aha! Aha!

With our own eyes we have seen it.”

This is the way of life of those whose judge is not God. This the way of life of those who live under the condemnation of the Prince of this world instead of under the benevolent grace of our Creator. Today I saw the comfort we can take in having God as our judge, and the freedom from condemnation that comes from grace and Christ's death on the Cross. How often we allow ourselves to listen to those voices that say, "Aha! Aha! With our own eyes we have seen it."

As I think of my first name now, having God as my judge is a message of freedom and grace. With my middle name, meaning "Christ bearer," it suggests to me that bearing the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that frees us from condemnation and to do the will of our Heavenly Father is my calling. Which means that I must begin work again on this book, in great earnest!

1 comment:

Scott Lyons said...

Your post brings to mind a terrific article (other than its utter condemnation of Western theology) titled "River of Fire" by Kalomiros. In it, along the lines of your thinking, he says much of God's justice. Here's a sample:

"So in the language of the Holy Scriptures, 'just' means good and loving. We speak of the just men of the Old Testament. That does not mean that they were good judges but that they were kind and God-loving people. When we say that God is just, we do not mean that He is a good judge Who knows how to punish men equitably according to the gravity of their crimes, but on the contrary, we mean that He is kind and loving, forgiving all transgressions and disobediences, and that He wants to save us by all means, and never requites evil for evil."

The article delves into this topic - that God is love and mercy, always. It is an article that tries to answer the questions, Is God good? and Did God create hell?

Here's a little more:

"So we see that God is not just, with the human meaning of this word, but we see that His justice means His goodness and love, which are given in an unjust manner, that is, God always gives without taking anything in return, and He gives to persons like us who are not worthy of receiving. That is why Saint Isaac teaches us: 'Do not call God just, for His justice is not manifest in the things concerning you. And if David calls Him just and upright, His Son revealed to us that He is good and kind. "He is good," He says, "to the evil and impious." ' "