Wednesday: Psalm 28-29; Isaiah 10.20-34; Philippians 2.1-11

From: Charlie Glenn

Though your people be like the sand by the sea, Israel, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous. Isaiah 10.22

This is one of so many verses in Scripture about judgment that make us acutely uncomfortable. All the more reason to take them very seriously.

The Lord of heaven and earth is pronouncing a judgment against his chosen people, against Israel whom he had rescued again and again. He is saying that most would no longer be part of the flock that he would shepherd, having placed themselves by continued disobedience and unfaithfulness outside of his covenant. 

At the same time he promises that a remnant would return, like the Prodigal Son in Jesus’ parable, and be welcomed back into his loving care.

What can we make of this? Christians in our culture tend to be shy about the idea of God as a righteous Judge. I decided to change churches, many years ago, because of a sermon contrasting the “God of the Old Testament” who was judgmental with “the God of the New Testament” who was loving; the preacher had clearly forgotten how often Jesus himself invoked judgment as a crucial feature of the coming Kingdom, not to mention how often Yahweh's loving mercy was celebrated! 

No, we fail to understand the depth of the mercy and love of God, the wonder of the Cross, if we minimize the significance of our rebellion against our righteous heavenly Father. We must not gloss over how much was at stake and is at stake as a result of our sinfulness. 

We need, at the same time, to remember that it is not up to us to judge others (Romans 2.1). Will only a remnant be spared, as occurs again and again in Old Testament? We can’t know what God intends, but we can say, with Job, “I know that my Redeemer lives” and commit our hearts and our lives to our loving Savior. Come, Lord Jesus!

I live in JP with Mary, and spend much of my time, in retirement from BU, writing and speaking on religious freedom issues here and in Europe. I greatly enjoy my seven children and seven grandchildren (with two more on the way)!