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The Heart of God in Judgment

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God's judgment and lovingkindness.


The Heart of God and Judgment in Old Testament Theology

Judgment is rarely on today's church's agenda, but it was certainly on the early church's agenda. In fact, they warn and speak openly of it often (see Acts 2:36-41; 17:29-31; 24:25; 2 Ti 4:8; 2 Pt 3:1-13). Thus, it is important to put judgment on our agenda, and studying a few basic elements of Old Testament Theology may help us do so.

I. God's Character and Judgment: The Law

  • God assesses, grieves, and punishes by specific act (Gen 1–10).
  • God forgives the penitent and holds the rebellious accountable (Ex 34:6-7). His mercy is primary, not solitary.
  • God promises to judge Israel (Lev 26; Dt 27–28).

II. God's Warnings and Judgment: The Prophets

  • God desires repentance, not destruction (Hosea 6:1-3; 9:5; 11:1-9; 14:1-9).
  • Repentance stays judgment (Joel 2: 12-14).
  • Intercession may stay judgment (Joel 2:12-14).
  • Repentance stays judgment for Jew and gentile (Jonah 3: 10; 4:1-2).
  • Lack of repentance leads to judgment for Jew and gentile (Nahum 1:1-8; Zeph).

III. God's Action and the Terrible Reality of Judgment: The Writings

  • Judgment is horrible (Lam 1-2; see Dt 28, Lev 26).
  • Judgment is merited, or it does not occur (Lam 1–2).
  • Judgment does not come God’s heart, his faithfulness endures forever, and the Lord is good (Lam 3:19-39). Thus, judgment ends (Lam 4:21-22). It has a redemptive, corrective, cleansing purpose.
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