Judgement is such a misunderstood term in today’s culture. We see it as dark and overbearing. Perhaps it is because we tend to humanize judgement instead of seeing it as designed with a wonderful purpose. There are actually three reasons I considered that affect our perception of God’s judgement.
- We wrongly see God.
- We take seriousness of sin lightly and not as the horrific beast it truly is.
- We do no conceive how deeply we need God.
As my knowledge of God has grown, so has my respect for who He is grown expedientially. Knowing more God cannot be valued enough. Knowledge of God will naturally put a reverence of God in the heart of a man. I could write endlessly on the attributes nature and the nuances of what I know about God from Scripture. There are those who could write even more than that. God is simply beyond our human comprehension.
I see God’s astonishing holiness, righteousness, grace, and mercy through Hosea’s eyes, as God gently draws the children of Israel back to Himself by the mercy of His judgement. It is a beautiful picture. God begins His case in what parallels to that of a courtroom.
“Listen to the word of the Lord, you sons of Israel, Because the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, For there is no faithfulness, nor loyalty, Nor knowledge of God in the land.” Hosea 4:1
The courtroom scene I see in Hosea helps sweeten my understanding of God’s judgement. God does not have to explain Himself or the wrong done Him by His created and chosen. But God takes time to explain in verse after verse, the iniquity of His people.
“And the rebels have gone deep in depravity, But I will discipline all of them. I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; Because now, Ephraim, you have been unfaithful, Israel has defiled itself. Their deeds will not allow them To return to their God. For a spirit of infidelity is within them, And they do not know the Lord.” Hosea 5:3-4
On their own, the wicked have no ability to turn to God. Depravity is met with more depravity. Divine assistance is needed for the depraved man to even notice that he or she is depraved. One must be placed in the wilderness, alone, with none of the comforts of life, with no souls to comfort. One must see the utter desolation of his or her life before one can even see their Hope and call out to Him for deliverance.
“I will also make her like a wilderness, Make her like desert land, And put her to death with thirst.” Hosea 2:3b
Judgement precedes restoration. This is what makes the cross so beautiful to us. Because the judgement we deserve for all our sins is an eternal judgement without hope of restoration. Instead of entering into that judgment
“Come, let’s return to the Lord.
For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.
He will revive us after two days;
He will raise us up on the third day,
That we may live before Him.
So let’s learn, let’s press on to know the Lord.
His appearance is as sure as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
As the spring rain waters the earth.” Hosea 6:1