Perfect justice can never occur on Earth. This does not mean we allow evil to flourish, but it does mean we can rest in the assurance that God will punish the wicked. God will condemn sin, and he will justly sentence sinners to Hell. In times of difficulty, where everywhere we turn we see evil people doing evil things, it is important to remember that it is God alone who will avenge. This is the thrust of Psalm 94:

O Lord, God of vengeance,

     O God of vengeance, shine forth!

Rise up, O judge of the earth;

     repay to the proud what they deserve!

O Lord, how long shall the wicked,

     how long shall the wicked exult?

They pour out their arrogant words;

all the evildoers boast.

They crush your people, O Lord,

and afflict your heritage.

They kill the widow and the sojourner,

and murder the fatherless;

and they say, “The Lord does not see;

the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

(Psalm 94:1-7)

Notice the words of the arrogant. They truly believe that God doesn’t perceive what they do (if they believe in God at all), or they hold to a misguided notion that God doesn’t care what transpires on Earth; that humanity is left to it’s own devices. Fact is, their self-conceived notions are false. God knows every thought of man:

Understand, O dullest of the people!

Fools, when will you be wise?

        He who planted the ear, does he not hear?

He who formed the eye, does he not see?

        He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke?

He who teaches man knowledge—

        the Lord—knows the thoughts of man,

that they are but a breath.

(Psalm 94:8-11)

This passage should serve as a warning to anyone who exalts their own pride above God. Additionally, a reminder that God knows all serves to further the notion that judgment is reserved for God alone. It is interesting to note how God views the thoughts of man: that they are just a breath. This is the same word the writer of Ecclesiastes uses when he declares: “Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecc 1:2). The same idea is used in both places, a mere breath; nothingness. In Ecclesiastes, the issue at hand pertains to life without God is a mere breath; i.e. pointless, or vain. Here in Psalm 94:11, the psalmist deftly states the thoughts of men are nothing to God; a mere breath. This very same truth is further realized in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, where Paul explains the true wisdom of God appears as folly to the world. It is for this reason, the very next verse speaks of discipline:

Blessed is the man whom you discipline, O Lord,

and whom you teach out of your law,

        to give him rest from days of trouble,

until a pit is dug for the wicked.

        For the Lord will not forsake his people;

he will not abandon his heritage;

        for justice will return to the righteous,

and all the upright in heart will follow it.

(Psalm 94:12-15)

This discipline pertains to the life one must strive for to learn more about God. It is the same discipline that God’s Law teaches and it is this very discipline which will result in the partaking of God’s promises as outlined in verses 13-15. It is important to note that the word used for rest (v.13) does not carry the notion of a peaceful existence, or a period of peace; the idea imparts the promise of an inward peace in times of adversity. God will always remain faithful to His promises regardless to what man does; the choice is whether-or-not to delight in Him.

Who rises up for me against the wicked?

     Who stands up for me against evildoers?

If the Lord had not been my help,

     my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence.

When I thought, “My foot slips,”

     your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.

When the cares of my heart are many,

     your consolations cheer my soul.

Can wicked rulers be allied with you,

     those who frame injustice by statute?

They band together against the life of the righteous

     and condemn the innocent to death.

But the Lord has become my stronghold,

     and my God the rock of my refuge.

He will bring back on them their iniquity

     and wipe them out for their wickedness;

     the Lord our God will wipe them out.

(Psalm 94:16-23)

The Psalm ends coming full circle back to the issue at hand: God alone is the judge of the Earth. Perfect justice can only come from a completely impartial judge, and it is this judge who alone is to be exalted in our lives.