How does the theme of judgment … or, how does knowledge of God as judge open up the missional theme in the Bible? This is the question of the second half of chp 3 in Chris Wright’s The Mission of God and I thought this section was both intelligent and insightful.
Is it possible to believe in God without believing in judgment? No theme is less politically incorrect in postmodern relativism and pluralism, no theme is more embarrassing to those who grew up in segments of the church where it was hell, hell, hell, and yet no theme is more obvious in the Bible than that God is the judge, that God is the final judge, and that all humans were stand before the judgment. How then to incorporate the theme into our theology and avoid all the problems of the ab ove?
Three sections are found here: what Pharaoh learned in the Exodus judgment on Egypt, what Israel learned in exile, and what we learn from the nations when they are under God’s judgment.
First, Wright has a brilliant little chart on p. 94 of what Pharaoh learned from the exodus event: essentially, it was to know YHWH as the one God who transcends all. One of the major themes of this chp is the YHWH does things so he can be known, and Pharaoh — by extension — has grounds to know YHWH through the exodus.
Second, the big part of this chp is on what Israel learns from the exile. Had YHWH met his match in the exile? Was the exile the defeat of YHWH? The opposite, argues Wright: God disciplined Israel through the exile.
1. YHWH has no favorites. Even Israel will experience judgment. Amos 3:2 and Deut 10:17.
2. YHWH can use any nation as the instrument of judgment: Isa 10:5-6 and Jer 27:4-6.
3. YHWH’s judgment is righteous and justified: Ezek 18:25.
4. YHWH’s people, even under judgment, remain God’s people for God’s mission: Jer 28:1-14.
Finally, the nations under judgment. Ezek, not known for universality, though does teach clearly that YHWH will be known both by Israel and the nations, and he appeals here to Ezek 38-39.