READ: Psalm 15, Isaiah 4-6, John 8, Revelation 16
Isaiah 4:4 reveals the Lord washes away our filth “by the spirit of judgment and of burning.” Isaiah further declares: “The Lord is exalted in judgment, God who is holy shall be hallowed in righteousness” (5:16). Revelation 16:5 concurs and affirms that God is righteous because He has judged sin.
The rebellious heart of man hates to be judged. Ostensibly our antipathy towards judgment is because we claim the judge cannot know our heart. In reality men and women resent judgment because they know they are guilty and hate for their hearts and sin to be revealed. Divided hearts by definition always are partially errant, and so whenever our hearts are put on trial, there is something ugly revealed. For this reason, God’s judgment is priceless for it burns away the evil part of our heart without unduly harming the good.
When God judges, He divides out what is unholy from us, and in the process He is exalted. The revelation of our evil exalts God, not because He feels better about Himself for pointing out our shame, but because His intention is to make us look like Him, and when we are judged our ugliness is burned away and we start to look beautiful. Judgment, when accepted, purifies and makes holy. To be holy is to be like God and to bring Him honor. Judgment is a win-win proposition: We are beautified and God is glorified.
There is something freeing about judgment. The Cross is the great gavel of God, and when God pounded Christ’s cross into the ground, He planted the instrument of His judgment of sin. God judged (divided out) sin from man on the Cross. It is under the judgment of God that we are safe and protected. The cancer that was killing us from the inside out has been surgically removed. Isaiah exults in this reality of beautiful judgment. After revealing God has washed away sin by the spirit of judgment and burning, he declares in the next verses (Isaiah 4:5-6): “For over all the glory there will be a covering…a shade in the daytime heat, a place of refuge, a shelter from storm and rain.” The beautiful judgment of God provides our covering.
“Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand, The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land; A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way, From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.”