First United Presbyterian Church

With Righteousness He Shall Judge

Isaiah 11:3b-5

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; 4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. 5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.

It is all too easy these days to feel like our world is going to heck in a handcart. Climate change is leading to more severe and more frequent natural disasters. We’ve witnessed political violence and a threat to the peaceful transfer of power. The pandemic has caused us to be isolated physically and its effects continue to isolate us socially. Our leaders are failing us.

We’ve been here before. Isaiah prophesied to a nation that had practiced idolatry and committed injustices. He warned that God would kill the wicked and bring judgment against those who turn away from God. But Isaiah also brings a message of hope. Previously in this sermon, Isaiah had spoken of a rebirth of a nation from the rubble and of a child that would be born on whose shoulders the government would rest. 

In this passage, Isaiah tells us about the qualities of that Savior. This would-be Ruler will be excellent and glorious and he shall exemplify the Spirit of the Lord. He shall know how to administer the affairs of his spiritual kingdom so that he can laud the glory of God and tend to the welfare of the children of men. 

What can we expect of this Savior? To treat his people with compassion. To look past outward appearances and judge people by their inner character. To judge people not according to their words but their actions. To esteem those who love their neighbors as themselves and work toward peace. 

How shall we act upon this good news? Let us strive to emulate those qualities. Let us turn away from treating family, colleagues, or even strangers with unkindness or even disdain. Let us be guided by God and God alone. 

Lord, forgive me when I turn away from your guiding light. Help me to judge others not based on appearances and words, but on their hearts and deeds. Help me to place my hope in Christ and to follow his example by glorifying you with all I say and do. 

Contributed by Diane Warren

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