How do we react to what Scripture has to say about judgement, not just the historic judgement of Israel or even the discipline we go through but also what Scripture has to say about God’s judgement on sin and evil, what it has to say about eternal judgement and hell.
Read Isaiah 34
It’s judgement day when God delivers his verdict and he invites the peoples of the earth to come near to hear it. The creation itself stands as witness (v1). Destruction is coming on all peoples but cosmic language is used to describe their fate to. The stars will fall. This language may do two things. First, it may figuratively refer to rulers, powers and empires in cosmic terms as the “hosts of heaven.” Secondly it describes judgement in world shattering/turned upside down/ending terms (v2-4). God himself, personally brings judgement (v5-7).
Judgement will come to the surrounding nations and rivals of Israel, Edom for example is singled out. God brings vengeance for what these people have done to his people. Notice, they will receive the same fate Israel suffered, their land will be leaderless, desolate, uninhabitable, returning to the wild (v8-17). This is something that God commits to, through his word and so is a eternal and unchangeable commitment.
God’s just judgement
There is an immediate fulfilment to these prophecies coming on the surrounding nations. However, the words here also point to a greater judgement to come. We can see the descriptions in Isaiah as typical of the day when God will judge the whole creation. Many of us struggle with the idea of eternal judgement and Hell. It may be helpful to remember that God’s judgement is also about vindication. Just as judgement on Eden demonstrated his love for Israel and vindicated his people, so too, his final judgement is about he vindication of his beloved Son that they have rejected. It is also important to remember that whilst we might struggle to understand God’s ways, we know that his judgement will be in line with his good, loving and just character.
Meditate on these words
the mouth of the Lord has commanded, (v16)
- Why might God’s faithfulness to his word be bad news for some?
- Why is it good news for you?
Lord God, we do not understand your ways but we trust you, the loving and eternal judge of all to do right.