Inspired by Isaiah 33:17-22
“For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us.” Isaiah 33:22 (NRSV)
We like to think we’ve got complete control over our lives. We’re masters of our own destinies, determiners of our own fate. We answer to no one but ourselves, determine our own values and guiding principles, and trust in our own wisdom and abilities to meet all our needs and wants.
And then something goes wrong, and we blame a vengeful or uncaring God for our troubles.
We cannot have it both ways. Either we’re completely responsible for our own lives, or we acknowledge God as our judge, ruler, and king.
If we choose to reject God’s sovereignty over us, then we must willingly accept the consequences of not only our own choices, but the consequences of everyone else’s choices, as well. If God has no authority over the lives of the people of the world, then differing human ideas of justice and behavior all have equal validity. Our expectations of agency, justice, and human worth are limited by human imagination and frailty, and when we suffer because of those limits, we have no one to appeal to, no hope for our salvation beyond what we ourselves can accomplish.
But if we acknowledge God as our judge, ruler, and king, then we can recognize the highest possibilities of human potential. We’ll still have to face the consequences of our own and others’ actions, but we can work to make those consequences positive and life-giving by following God’s principles of love, mercy, and justice. And when we suffer cruelty or injustice because of others, we can trust that God’s compassion and mercy will triumph. When we have exhausted all our own resources, the Lord of the universe and Creator of all things will be there to do what we cannot, save us from our trials, and embrace us with his eternal love.
Let us pray. Lord of all, you desire justice and dignity for all your people. Enable us to recognize you as our judge, ruler, and king, that we may come closer to our ultimate potential and live in confident expectation of your salvation. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.