“Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth” (Psalm 98:8-9).
Usually, when a judge walks to the courthouse to try a case, he isn’t accompanied by a marching band. There isn’t much fanfare for a regular judge in a regular court. There isn’t much fanfare, because there isn’t much to be excited about regular justice.
But the justice this psalm celebrates is worth rejoicing over. It is not human, imperfect, bureaucratic justice. It isn’t politicized, spin-obscured, cameras in the courtroom justice. The justice this psalm celebrates is unlike anything this world has seen or experienced. The justice that the rivers clap for and the hills sing over is the justice of the Lord.
Most of us aren’t excited about the idea of God’s judgment. At the last Day, he will come to judge all flesh (Isa. 66:16; Jer. 25:31). The idea of judgment is unpleasant to us, because, for many, judgment will mean punishment. We don’t much like that in our day. But it’s hard to get around the idea that the biblical authors anxiously await God’s judgment. They are excited about it. And, according to this psalm, so are the hills and rivers.
We can be excited for the Day of God’s judgment, because, in Christ, we know we will be declared “not guilty.” We can be excited for that Day, because we know that God will put right every wrong that’s been done in our world, that our enemies will be punished for their wrongdoing, culminating in Satan himself being thrown in the fiery lake. And, on that Day, we will watch the Lord Jesus himself restoring the created world—now subjected to sin and futility—to its original splendor, never again to lose its luster.
Our initial reaction to judgment is to shy away from it. But in Christ, our hope is to be found in divine judgment. May we rejoice in anticipation of that glorious Day.