Singing about God’s Judgement?

This week in our “Preaching the Pronouns” series at church we've reached “Them” – the doctrine of the unbeliever. Though I'm not preaching this week, I did have to pick songs for us to sing together.

Have you ever tried to pick songs on the theme of God's judgement? Perhaps you'd think that's tricky?

Curiously, God's people are good at singing about His judgement. So, for example,

Exodus 15:1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD: “I will sing to the LORD, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea. 2 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him. 3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name. 4 Pharaoh's chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea. The best of Pharaoh's officers are drowned in the Red Sea.  5 The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone. 6 “Your right hand, O LORD, was majestic in power. Your right hand, O LORD, shattered the enemy. 7 In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble.

And, of course, in the great eschatalogical vision we get this…

Revelation 16:5 Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say: “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; 6 for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.” 7 And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”

There is something about God judging justly that delights the believer, which is a little hard to get our heads around but there it is in the Scriptures.

So what songs to pick? WorshipMatters has a great little article on this subject.

The basic question has to do with the place of singing about God’s judgments. O’Donnell makes the point that many of the songs in the Old Testament rejoice over God’s just judgments (Ex. 15:1-181Sam. 2:102Sam. 22:44-51, etc.) A related theme has to do with God humbling the proud. Both themes are lacking in the song diet of many churches, yet they’re unquestionably present not only in OT songs, but in the New Testament as well (Lk. 1:51-55Rev. 18:2019:1-5).

The point of all this isn’t that we should always be focusing on God’s judgments, nor to sing about them in a cold-hearted way that minimizes the tragic consequences of sin. The point is to magnify the greatness of God’s holiness, justice, righteousness, sovereignty, power, mercy, kindness, and grace in his judging evil, and especially in the judging of the Savior in our place at Calvary. His undeserved kindness has enabled us to be forgiven, to be adopted as precious children, and to anticipate unending joy at God’s right hand in the new heavens and the new earth.

God's judgement, then, also reveals His mercy. For when we consider how God acts justly, we also have great joy in considering His grace towards us.

What songs did I pick, then?

Rock of Ages

While I draw this fleeting breath,

When mine eyes shall close in death,

When I soar to worlds unknown,

See Thee on Thy judgment throne,

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

Let me hide myself in Thee.

You Will Be Saved

All those who trust in him
Will not be put to shame
For all who call on the name of the Lord
will be saved
All those who trust in him
Will not be put to shame

We Belong to the Day

We belong to the day
We were bought with Jesus’ blood
Soon he comes as the judge
In the power of his word
We must tell of his salvation while we wait
For the day when Jesus comes will be too late

Oh, if ten thousand years go by we will wait
Let us tell of his great love, he will come
For his patience means salvation!

See Him Coming

See him coming on the clouds of heaven 
Every eye behold him now 
He’s the Living One the first and last 
Who once was dead, but now he lives 
forever and ever.

Leave a Reply

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. dave moore

    We’ve been singing this song by one of our congregation members, i think it really captures a wonderful element of God’s judgement…

    We will fall down
    before the lord of all
    give our life account
    against his perfect law
    Even though I’ll meet my judge
    he will know my name
    Though he knows the wrath I face
    he wore it in my place

  2. Philip Wittig

    People need to mend their ways and return to God now more than ever to avoid suffering from His rightful judgement.
    Read my blog: 5 Ways to Come Back to God
    Hope this help, Thank you!

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