“For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” ~ Isaiah 33:22
Earlier this week, I sat on a panel of three as we interviewed potential job candidates. The job entails working in two different buildings, so both building managers were present with the director. Applicants had to answer the group’s questions, complete a 10 question impromptu quiz, and perform a two-minute aptitude skill task. The experience was next to excruciating for the hopeful interviewees.
I know one of them personally and afterwards she told me that the absolute worst part was completing the simple two-minute task. Did she know all of her interviewers? Yes, she is friends with two of the three. Did she know what she was doing? Yes! Did she know that she could complete the task without error? Yes! But she felt an overwhelming sense of judgment as she completed the task under the watchful eyes of the interviewing committee. Simply put, no one likes to feel judged and the very thought of our verdict intimidated her.
I’ve thought a lot about Isaiah’s description this week. I love how he works through some of the Lord’s qualities. It shows so much of his character in just a few short words. Isaiah begins by stressing that the Lord is our judge. Boom! He starts out with the harshest sentiment we humans can fathom. We hear the word today and think: “He doesn’t have a right to ‘judge’ me,” but we’re wrong. He’s righteous. Perfect. Blameless. His virtue demands that He judge us, and His judgments are completely right. Every single one of us has sinned, has been unholy, lives unrighteously (Romans 3:23). The just penalty of these behaviors? “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). The only One fit to cast this judgment? The Lord.
But God doesn’t leave us deserving judgment. Instead He guides us to holiness. Isaiah’s next description saws that God is our Lawgiver. Rather than allow the fallen, imperfect humans to struggle making up a code of imperfect regulations, He outlines what would make us suitable. With the 10 Commandments and the rest of the Bible, He provides us with a set of rules that are perfect as He is perfect. Live by His laws and we will be pardoned.
Unfortunately, we are finite and we cannot live by the Law He gave. Does He abandon and condemn us? No, He becomes our King. What’s the role of a king? Well, if he is a good king, the role is to be solely responsible for those in His kingdom. Historically, kings provided job opportunities, adequate shelter, food supplies, military protection and many other benefits to their subjects. In case we miss how important this role is, Isaiah adds the phrase, “He will save us.” A Savior. It’s both spiritual and physical. What a comfort!!!
So, I titled this piece, “The Healthy Side of Judgment,” and here’s how I see it played out. God is the just judge, the only one fit to condemn humanity. His righteousness requires that He do so because our very nature is evil. Yet, His mercy allows Him to try and save us through His Law. When we fail to live up to this code, He offers His sovereignty as our shield. If we let Him, He’ll be our king, our protector. Our Savior. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take Him up on that offer and cast myself before Him. Guilty and condemned, praying for His mercy. And He won’t disappoint. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). I embrace the name of Jesus and stand before my Judge!
What about you? Any insights to share on this verse? How do you see God in His role of Judge, Lawgiver, King, and Savior?