On a beautiful day like today, I can imagine creation singing praises to God – the clouds floating with joy, the rivers sparkling as they clap, the mountains lifting up praises.
The Psalm begins with praise for God’s marvelous works, his saving acts on behalf of His people, his “steadfast love and faithfulness.”
That makes sense.
But I was struck by the end of the Psalm.
Why should all men and all the earth shout with joy? Because…
[God] comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
and the peoples with equity. vs. 9
We’re supposed to rejoice because God is coming as judge? And you know what THAT means!
Judgment doesn’t exactly seem a joyful occasion to me…
So, checking the Study Bibles, I read:
The entire creation, human and otherwise, can rejoice at the prospect of God’s just rule (as in Psalm 96:13, the sense of judge is “administer justice through a just rule”). Human beings were made to submit to God’s rule and to govern the creation in wisdom and love; when they acknowledge God’s kingship, they and the rest of the creation will flourish. ESV Study Bible
The New Geneva Study Bible also refers back to Psalm 96 to support the idea that judge here does not refer to final judgment, but to the justice displayed by God in His kingdom.
Reminds me of Romans 8: 19-23 – all of creation is groaning until that day when God redeems the heavens and the earth, until that day when He reigns in the new heavens and the new earth.
Reminds me of Revelation 21 and 22 – which describe that new creation.
Of COURSE everyone and everything will shout with joy when God rules that kingdom! Because…
… the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in [the new Jerusalem], and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. Revelation 22:3-5
Today’s Readings: Job 33:1-34:37, Psalm 98:4-9, Proverbs 23:19-21, 1 Corinthians 3:1-23. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).