Wondering How Often this Really “Works”?
There is a lot of discussion about the wicked and judgment of the wicked in the 150 individual psalms that make up the book of psalms. I have read the psalms many times but it wasn’t until this time through it, taking the time to think about and write about each one, that I realized how much of these psalms deal with judgment and contrast the righteous and the wicked. It’s beginning to get a little challenging to find something new to write about each day…not impossible, just a little challenging. In Psalm 83 there is a cry to God to judge the nations and people groups of the world who are against God’s people. The writer is asking God to judge them. Then the writer ends with these words: “Fill their faces with shame, That they may seek Your name, O Lord. 17 Let them be confounded and dismayed forever; Yes, let them be put to shame and perish, 18 That they may know that You, whose name alone is the Lord, Are the Most High over all the earth.” The line of reasoning seems to be that if God will judge the people, the people will turn to Him; or at the very least will at least acknowledge God’s position as “Most High over all the earth”. But I wonder how often this “works”. In my personal experience, judgment and shame don’t seem to put people on a path to a relationship with God. It does in some cases…I’ve heard those testimonies; but I think I know more stories about those who do not know God being pushed farther away by judgment and shame. Perhaps I’m wrong…after all I can’t “see” into the hearts and minds of people, and I certainly trust God to do what He does; but I don’t think it’s very wise for us as human beings to think that revival or renewal will come through judgment. Sure, we still need to share the truth of God’s word about sin and the need for salvation. And we must not waffle on the truth of God’s word; but imparting human shame and judgment without large doses of love and grace just don’t really seem to work from my perspective. I don’t think my words are going against what the writer is asking here, but perhaps serving as a caution to all of us…or at least me.