More Good News About God’s Judgment

Thanks for joining us today, friends. Customarily in this space we do our best, Pastor Dan and I, to answer some of the questions that you all send in connection with our sermon from the previous Sunday. And, well, I didn’t receive any questions from you all from this past Sunday, but that doesn’t mean that we should just forget about that message and what God said to us. So I just want to share a couple of thoughts of reminders from Sunday’s message and also share a passage of Scripture with you all that I found to be so encouraging that’s in connection with the message. If you missed Sunday’s message or any of our previous messages from the series that we’re doing in the book of Isaiah, you can always go back to our website and look at some of those archives and sermons and even previous series that we’ve done.

But I shared from Isaiah chapter one specifically about God’s judgment, and even more precisely and specifically about God’s judgment as beneficial to God’s people. We don’t often think of God’s judgment as being positive and desirable and preferable and beneficial, but we took a look from Isaiah chapter one and talked about God’s purposes in judgment. I talked about in judgment what is God doing and why. I talked about how God is doing the work that he’s doing in judgment. And then thirdly, I talked about again from the passage there in Isaiah one about why we want judgment.

And many of us are like, I don’t want judgment. But if you’re one of God’s children, if you’ve made a profession of faith and you follow Jesus, we find throughout Scripture that God’s judgment is actually good news. It’s actually beneficial because in judgment, one of the things that God is doing is he is making things right. And I just wanted to share from Isaiah chapter 28, expanding upon this idea of God’s judgment as being beneficial, I talked about in my message God’s character and how God is compassionate and gracious and slow to anger and abounding in love. And that slow to anger piece, I think is so important.

We often think that God is just rash in his judgment. But I talked about how because God is slow to anger in his mercy, he gives us multiple chances to turn to Him and to repent so that we can avoid some of the refining and some of the judgment that he brings in our life. And because God is slow to anger, he is also precise and strategic in his judgment. And I think Isaiah 28 gives us a beautiful metaphor for what that can look like. Isaiah 28 is a chapter about judgment that is coming for people.

And yet at the end of chapter 28, there’s a poem there, and I just want to read that starting in verse 23 through the end of chapter 28. It says, listen and hear my voice, pay attention and hear what I say, when a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and working the soil? When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cumin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot and spelt in its field?

His God instructs him and teaches him the right way. Caraway is not threshed with a sledge, nor is the wheel of a cart rolled over cumin. Caraway is beaten out with a rod and cumin with a stick. Grain must be ground to make bread, so one does not go on threshing it forever. The wheels of a threshing cart may be rolled over it, but one does not use horses to grind grain.

All this also comes from the Lord Almighty, whose plan is wonderful, whose wisdom is magnificent. And what that poem is doing is comparing the work of a farmer to the work that God does. And specifically, in the context of Chapter 28, we can think of it as the work that God does to refine us and to remake us and to help us to bear more fruit. It’s the work that he does often in judgment. Just as a farmer plows, the farmer doesn’t always only plow.

There’s a time that the farmer stops plowing. There’s a time that the farmer levels the field. There’s a time that the farmer waters. There’s a time that the farmer uses different tools and different instruments at different seasons and knows what to plant and where to plant it and when to plant it. And all of those things are part of the process of reaping a harvest and cultivating the crops.

And that’s the work that I think God does in the lives of his people. When there is judgment that God is again strategic, he is wise, he’s a wonderful counselor. He knows us and he knows what we need. Jesus used sort of a similar agricultural metaphor in John Chapter 15, when he was sharing how I am the vine and you are the branches. And he talks about the fruit that needs to be borne out in our lives as the branches.

And in order to help us to bear more fruit, there’s oftentimes where God will prune us and clean us, and that can be a painful process, just like, again, a refining fire in our lives. But all of that is for the purpose that we would bear more fruit. So I just want to share that passage in light of, again, the message on Sunday about God’s judgment that God is slow to anger. And because he is slow to anger, he knows what he is doing. And we need not despair or be dismayed when he is at work in our life, because he’s doing his work strategically and intentionally and not haphazardly and not randomly.

He doesn’t just fly off the handle or have a temper tantrum. He’s at work in your life and in my life so that we can bear more fruit. And that is good news. Well, thanks for joining us today. Remember to send in those questions next week for our message, and we’ll do our best to get back to those questions.

But in the meantime, thanks for joining us today. Bye.