God Is Our Judge

Yael Eckstein  |  July 10, 2023

IFCJ staff member greeting Ukrainian refugee Nataliia Berkhstein with an IFCJ food box in hand.

The LORD is slow to anger but great in power;
    the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished. 
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
    and clouds are the dust of his feet.”
— Nahum 1:3

This month, we will look at the theme of justice as one of the bedrock principles of our Judeo-Christian values. Enjoy!

The Book of Nahum describes the total destruction that would befall Nineveh, a city full of wicked people who were doomed to meet a harsh end. This is the same Nineveh that is more well-known from the Book of Jonah, when 150 years before Nahum’s prophecy, God was ready to destroy the city because the inhabitants were so evil. In that case, God commanded the prophet Jonah to preach to Nineveh, the people repented, and Nineveh was spared.

However, their change of heart was short-lived. Nahum describes a city “full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims” and “piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses” (3:1-3). This time, Nineveh’s destruction was inevitable; the people were no longer capable of repentance. Nahum tells us that God is slow to anger,” but His patience is not limitless. Nahum warned the people — and us — “The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will not leave the guilty unpunished.”

God Is Our Judge

A few weeks ago, my kids were having “one of those days.” They were fighting with each other, ignoring my requests, and being generally unbearable. I turned on happy music, offered snacks, and promised rewards. I mediated, navigated, validated, and stayed calm. Then came the threats. “If you don’t stop bothering each other, you won’t be able to go to the birthday party.” “If you don’t clean up your toys, I’ll take them away.”

It’s not my favorite method of parenting, but sometimes it’s all I’ve got. Of course, I don’t want to punish my children! I want them to understand the consequences of their actions and make changes so I can praise them over a big bowl of ice cream.

While God is our Judge, He is also our Father. He is full of love, compassion, and mercy. He desperately wants us to change our ways so He can shower us with blessings. He’ll give us as many chances as He can. But God is not a wishy-washy parent who doesn’t follow through on His threats. As Nahum reminds us, while God desires repentance, sometimes punishment is His only option. Justice will be served. Our actions have consequences.

Your Turn:

Try to change your bad habits before they are so deeply ingrained that they seem impossible to let go of.