Lectionary Year B
March 2, 2003
Step VI - Contemporary Address
(JFC) Proclaiming this text might clarify how the God of the Old Testament judges as
does the God of the New Testament, with grace, as does the God of both testaments, surely.
B. Describing the Audience
(JFC) While so many of us are confused if not angered by our president's propensity
to go to war soon (as of 2/13/03) against Iraq, to say nothing of its being against the Iraqis, we tend to judge even though we are told to do it only as we are judged, it could be timely to preach such a sermon from this passage even on Transfiguration Sunday to any congregation. We might need some additional insight into God's kind of judgment.
(JFC) A sermon, entitled, for this working draft, "This God of Judgment".
Psalm 50 is all about God's judging. Verse 4 uses one word in the original language for God's judging and verse 6 uses a different word for God's judging. So, what do we see?
I. God judges, !yd
A. The word used first, in verse 4 ( !ydi) means, "the 'authoritative, binding decision in a law suit.' . . . In addition to God, a king (Jer. 21:12, 22:16; Ps. 72:2; Prov. 20:8; 31:5, 8, 9), a tribal leader (Gen. 49:16), or a high priest (Zec. 3:7) is the subject who gives justice to the oppressed." These designations offered by Botterweck in TDOT. God judges to bring justice to any needing it, God's kind of justice.
B. "God appears to the individual only as a merciful judge, always judging justly = God's evaluation of what is justly. Then Yahweh judges his people Israel both in the sense of helping or vindicating (Dt. 32:36; Ps. 135:14; Job 35:14 [the text here is disputed]) . . ." These passages from Hamp in TDOT. God judges in order to assist people get what they need as God estimates needs humans have.
II. God judges, jp;v'
A. The word, used secondly, in verse 6 (jp;v') denotes, "the action that restores the disturbed shalom (peace) of the community . . . ; for the one who suffers under the disrupted order, shaphat means 'to deliver, to aid in bringing about justice' - for the one who is the cause of the disruption, the shaphat-action is judgment that brings about exclusion and destruction." This differentiation according to Botterweck in TDOT.
B. This word means "to judge or to govern or to act as law-giver . . . in order to deliver Israel as in Judges 3:10, 4:4, 10:2f and 10 more times therein. . . and at theophanic advent of final judgment: God is jpevo,y(Psalms) 50:6, 76:8. . ," according to BDB. God judges in order to provide organization and deliverance to people needing them.
III. Jesus, in the New Testament
A. Jesus uses the word, in John 5:22 (kri,sij) of God's way of judging, i.e., by giving the privilege/responsibility of judging to Jesus, who judges with mercy and understanding of sinfulness. In John 8:15f, Jesus avows that He and God judge together.
B. The God of holiness in both Hosea and Deutero-Isaiah is the God as both Judge and Redeemer, as well, according to Westermann's TOT, where also we read, "Even Yahweh's acts of judgment are subordinate to the purpose of his love," Vol. II, p. 297. Furthermore and therefore, Jesus died for sinners whom He judged as sinful. So, we, as did the Psalmist, express our thanksgiving for God's redeeming us from our sinfulness.
The story of God on the Judgment Bench, each one of us standing at the Defendant's table, just having been pronounced "guilty of our sinfulness". God begins to pronounce the sentence and declares, "Guilty." Dramatically, God cries out the sentence, "You shall die on the cross," pointing to Jesus. It has happened. Christ has died for us, we give thanks to such a generous and gracious God. Thanks be to God.
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