Whenever we go to the house of the Lord, we’re reminded Jesus endured the hammer on our behalf
3 Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
4 to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
Imagine your younger sister just ratted you out for something she actually did. Sentenced to your room, you find yourself awaiting unknown judgment when your father gets home. How do you feel? In today’s passage, the mention of thrones of judgment can stir up a sense of fear or dread – yet, David deliberately chooses to add this little detail in his psalm about communal worship. One might wonder why he would weave in such a weighty concept. Perhaps it’s more relevant than we realize. For some, the idea of going to the house of the Lord brings with it a sense of apprehension – ignited by the fear of unfair judgment. Sadly, our world is full of unfair judgment – both in the church and in our legal system.
No one likes the feeling of being judged or experiencing the consequence of righting a wrong. Yet, if we’re honest, we all want justice. Deep within our spirits, we cry out for justice. We desire for cases of injustice to be made right and for consequences to be just. The establishment of the judgment seat is only scary when we are worried the hammer will fall on us. Those confident in a merciful outcome can be sure the hammer will not fall on them.
As believers in Jesus, we can be confident in the outcome of God’s judgment seat. The hammer doesn’t fall on us because it’s already fallen on Jesus. He’s already paid the penalty of our sin in full. Therefore, whenever we go to the house of the Lord, we’re reminded Jesus endured the hammer on our behalf. This is precisely why we can experience joy and peace when we enter God’s presence – knowing just punishment has already taken place. Take a few minutes to imagine yourself walking out of your bedroom after your dad explains he knows exactly where you and your sister were at fault and how he took the punishment due for both you and her. Feel the emotions of freedom when you can trust a just and fair system – for both you and the others involved.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things.
To him be glory forever. Amen.
– Romans 11:33-36
By Yvonne Biel