“Guilty as Charged” (pt. 1 of 2)

Your day has finally come.  You enter the courtroom for the trial, make eye contact with the district attorney, and take your seat at the defendant’s table.  The words echo throughout the courtroom, “All rise; the honorable JEHOVAH is now presiding.”  Much to your surprise (and chagrin), you realize that the judge is the same person as the district attorney; after a few double takes, you realize there is absolutely no difference in these two.  Can you imagine such a scene?  If not, then read Psalm 50, for that is the picture—Jehovah God is the Judge, District Attorney, Juror, and the key Witness against His people.  In this psalm, God judges His people, He witnesses against them, and He calls them back to Him.  The time of writing for this psalm is unknown, though it is thought by many to be sometime near either the captivity or restoration of God’s people.  Let us now continue through the amazing picture painted by this psalm.  “This court is now in session.”

The Judge enters the courtroom (vv. 1-6).  As mentioned already, picture the booming voice, echoing all over the courtroom, “The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people. Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself.”  You are speechless (literally, unable to speak in His presence) as the Judge of all the earth, the all-righteous Judge (cf. Gen. 18:25), enters His courtroom.  God has entered to preside and judge His people.  Likewise, today, Jesus has been appointed judge “of quick [living, ccd] and dead” (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim. 4:1).  Jesus Himself said, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jn. 12:48), and, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son” (5:22).  Isaiah stated, “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people” (3:13).  Today, God has ordained His Son to do all judging (Acts 10:42).  Furthermore, we know that the judgment of the Son is true, as He said Himself, for His judgment is one with the Father’s (Jn. 8:16).

“The plaintiff calls JEHOVAH to the stand” (vv. 7-15).  God’s people here find out that the key witness is the Judge Himself.  As He “takes the stand,” God says, “Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God” (v. 7).  God says He will not witness against them for the multitude of their sacrifices, which they have indeed offered (v. 8), but His witness against them is that they have not lived faithfully (vv. 14-15).  God’s people were offering the material (foolish indeed, since God owns all these things anyway, vv. 10-12), but they were negligent in giving Him the most important thing—themselves.  Today, the Gospel witnesses against the sins of mankind, as it is written, “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Jude 15).  The Scriptures testified of Jesus’ truthfulness (Jn. 8:17-18,56), and Jesus told the unbelieving Jews, “Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” (8:46).  Today, as in Jesus’ day, the Gospel convicts men of sin and witnesses against the unbelief of so many who refuse to submit to the Savior of all the world.

Next article…“the jury has returned a verdict,” & “the sentence is announced.”


[Article written by Chad Dollahite, taken from Bremen Church of Christ (Bremen, GA) bulletin]

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