Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep. Psalm 36:6a.
Yesterday I was walking along the beach with my bride and this verse came to mind. The water was calm with small waves lapping at the sand. When you looked out from the shore, however, the ocean stretched out past the horizon. It was a vast expanse of water that we couldn’t even see across, much less down into the depths.
Mountains are different. They can be grand, intimidating, unscalable, but not beyond examination. God’s righteousness, in the same way, is observable. Just like the ancients, we can see it in His creation as it works harmoniously all around us. We can see it in how He moves through our lives, teaching us and growing us. We see it in the crucifixion of Christ, making that righteousness available to us through His atonement.
But God’s judgments are not the same. They are mysterious, like the deep. The ancients saw the ocean as an alien world of mysterious monsters. We aren’t that different. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that over 90% of the ocean floor is unexplored. It seems every year we discover some new species there.
Just like the ocean floor, God’s judgments are mostly unknown and unknowable. They are beyond our ability to see or understand. The next time you are tempted to judge someone else’s motives or actions, remember how unqualified you might be. You know less about real justice than you do about what is at the bottom of the sea. Leave that work to God, whose judgments are like the deep.