Psalm 96:11-13 – Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; 12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy 13 before the LORD, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.
The giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove. Yosemite National Park, California.
I have walked through many forests over the years and have always enjoyed the cathedral like feeling of an old-growth pine forest with little underbrush and a soft carpet of needles. The giant sequoias of Mariposa Grove take that feeling to a whole new level. God’s power and magnificence are clearly on display in this grove of ancient giants!
As with so many of the Psalms, Psalm 96 reminds us once again that all of creation celebrates and glorifies the Lord. The earth rejoices, the sea roars, the fields exult, and “the trees of the forest sing for joy.” What I find most noteworthy about the celebration described in today’s passage, though, is that it is a celebration of God’s judgment. In today’s culture the word judgment often carries a negative connotation. Many equate it with intolerance and bigotry, which is an unfortunate perversion resulting from our fallen and sinful condition. But we all understand and appreciate judgment when we see a criminal punished justly for their crime, don’t we?
The thing we must always remember about God’s judgment, is that it is fully righteous. His punishment meted out for our sins is fully deserved. What we don’t deserve is the forgiveness that God has granted us in grace, through faith, made possible only by the blood Christ shed on the cross. We have done nothing, nor can we, to earn his forgiveness, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)
Read more about my “God is Revealed…“ category of posts
© Todd D. Nystrom and Todd the Hiker, 2013.