Songs that Reference God’s Judgments

In a recent post, I suggested that we generally shy away from singing songs about God’s judgments, but that judgment is a theme found in many Psalms and Scriptural songs. I promised that I’d follow up with a post that suggested some songs we can sing that reference God’s judgments and help us think about them in a way that honors God, encourages a passion for holiness, and strengthens our confidence in the gospel. So one month later, here we are. (If you didn’t read my previous post, please read it to get the context.)

Before listing the songs, it’s important to mention a few things. First, God is the Judge, not us. We’re concerned about his fame and vindication, not ours. That means we don’t sing about God’s judgments with self-righteousness or callousness. Second, God judging evil is part of the Bible’s story line to redeem a people for his glory. As one commenter said, “God’s judgment is simply the ‘negative’ side of our great heartcry, ‘Let your kingdom come!'” Finally, the predominant theme of our gatherings is not simply that God judges wickedness, but that he rejoices in righteousness. And that his righteousness has been most clearly demonstrated in the Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dying for our sins and rising from the dead. Because Christ was made to be sin for us, we are now clothed in the righteousness of God and are no longer under his wrath. Definitely cause for great rejoicing!

With that being said, here are some suggestions, modern and hymns.

Day of Judgment, Day of Wonders (John Newton)
(Probably one of the best comprehensive hymns on the day of judgment.)
At His call the dead awaken,
Rise to life from earth and sea;
All the powers of nature shaken
By His look, prepares to flee.
Careless sinner, what will then become of thee?

Almighty (Paul Baloche, from Glorious)
You will judge the nations,
You’ll reward Your servants,
Both the great and small
.

Lord of All (Kristian Stanfill, from Attention)
We will respond with joy in our song
Your enemies rise, Your enemies fall
Your fire consumes them all

The Greatest of All (Pat Sczebel, from Psalms)
Now I’ll never know Your judgment
You ransomed and saved my soul

God Shall Arise (Mark Altrogge, from Psalms)
God shall arise, and his foes be scattered
God shall arise, oh, sing his praise

Warrior (Sojourn Music, from Over the Grave)
Your hand shall find out every foe
And as a fiery furnace glows
With raging heat and living coals
They will feel your wrath upon their souls

Jesus is Lord (Keith Getty & Stuart Townend)
“Jesus is Lord!”-a shout of joy, a cry of anguish,
As He returns, and ev’ry knee bows low.
Then ev’ry eye and ev’ry heart will see His glory,
The Judge of all will take His children home.

Psalm 73 (Kevin Twit)
Surely, they’re cast down
As those on slippery ground
As dreams fade when we wake, so they become
Completely swept away

Sing to the King (Billy Foote)
We’ll join in singing with all the redeemed
Cause Satan is vanquished and Jesus is King

By Thy Mercy (Indelible Grace, Words by James Cummins, Music by Greg Thompson)
In the solemn hour of dying,
In the awful judgment day,
May our souls, on thee relying,
Find thee still our Rock and Stay.

Bring on the Day (Garage Hymnal from Bring on the Day)
Fire rages, heavens vanish, all else is stripped away
His justice like the ocean consumes our broken land

God, Be Merciful (Christopher Miner)
Broken, humbled to the dust
By Thy wrath and judgment just,
Let my contrite heart rejoice,
And in gladness hear Thy voice

Great Day of the Lord (Andy Melvin from The Human Engine Waits)
When You’ll ride in victory
And darkness reigns no more
At the coming of our King
On the great day of The Lord

How Sweet and Aweful (Isaac Watts)
Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.

The Lord Is (Ross King, from To Make God Famous, Vol. 2)
Listen, wicked ones, all who stand opposed to him
You will soon be done, He will surely come again

Adore and Tremble (Daniel Renstrom, from Adore and Tremble)
(Drawn from Psalm 2)

For Our God Spared Not the Angels (Abe and Liza Philip)
When they sinned and fell astray
Bound for hell and chains of darkness
To their doom on Judgment Day

And here are a few great lyrics, although I think they could use some new music:

O Lord, Thou Judge (Psalter 1912)
O Lord, Thou Judge of all the earth,
To Whom all vengeance doth belong,
Arise and show Thy glory forth,
Requite the proud, condemn the wrong.

To Thee, O God, We Render Thanks (Ps. 75)
Great God, What Do I See and Hear?

Any more?

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26 Responses to Songs that Reference God’s Judgments

  1. Matt November 30, 2010 at 3:49 PM #

    Rise Up (Ben Shive from The Ill-Tempered Klavier)

    If the thief had to come to plunder when the children were alone
    If he ravaged every daughter and murdered every son
    Would not their Father see this? Would not His anger burn?
    And would He not repay the tyrant in the day of His return?
    Await, await the day of His return

    And a small PS – thanks for coming up to the Northwest. It was a great blessing to hear you Thursday at Mars Hill and over the weekend at CMS.

  2. Matt Blick November 30, 2010 at 4:28 PM #

    I’ve got one that talks about Jesus bearing God’s judgement for us. Does that count? (You can download for it free from my blog) –

    The anger of a Holy God
    Defamed by all the wrong I’ve done
    You took upon yourself so willingly
    When you sacrificed your sinless life for me.

    Great High Priest

    Also I guess you could say this one is about judgement…

    Lastly how about When This Passing World Is Done (taken from McChenyne’s poem “I Am A Debtor”)?

    Chosen not for good in me,
    Wakened up from wrath to flee,
    Hidden in the Saviour’s side,
    By the Spirit sanctified,
    Teach me, Lord, on earth to show,
    By my love, how much I owe.

  3. Barry Wallace November 30, 2010 at 5:23 PM #

    Lo, He Comes With Clouds Descending

    Every eye shall now behold Him
    Robed in dreadful majesty;
    Those who set at naught and sold Him,
    Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
    Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
    Shall the true Messiah see.

    Every island, sea, and mountain,
    Heav�n and earth, shall flee away;
    All who hate Him must, confounded,
    Hear the trump proclaim the day:
    Come to judgment! Come to judgment! Come to judgment!
    Come to judgment! Come away!

  4. Dave November 30, 2010 at 6:17 PM #

    Pleased we read in Sacred Story, by Joseph Hart. We did it to the common tune of “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”/”Alleluia, Sing to Jesus”.

    Pleased we read in sacred story
    How our Lord resumed His breath;
    Where, O Grave’s thy conquering glory?
    Where’s thy sting, thou phantom Death?
    Soon thy jaws, restrained from chewing,
    Must disgorge thy ransomed prey!
    Man first gave thee power to ruin
    Man too takes that power away.

    “I am Alpha,” says the Savior
    “I, Omega, likewise am.
    I was dead and live forever
    God Almighty and the Lamb!”
    In the Lord is our perfection
    And in Him our boast we’ll make
    We shall share His resurrection
    If we of His death partake.

    You that die without repentance
    You must rise when Christ appears:
    Rise to meet your dreadful sentence
    While the saints rejoice in theirs.
    You to dwell with fiends infernal
    They with Jesus Christ to reign;
    They go into life eternal,
    You to everlasting pain.

    (from the Gadsby Hymnal. There’s another version from Hart’s Hymns which has a fourth verse.)

  5. Dustin Smetona November 30, 2010 at 7:08 PM #

    Lord I Deserve Thy Deepest Wrath
    Words: Basil Manly, Jr. , in The Baptist Psalmody, 1850
    Music: John B. Dykes, in Hymns Ancient and Modern, 1861

    Lord, I deserve thy deepest wrath,
    Ungrateful, faithless I have been;
    No terrors have my soul deterred,
    Nor goodness wooed me from my sin.
    No terrors have my soul deterred,
    Nor goodness wooed me from my sin.

    My heart is vile, my mind depraved,
    My flesh rebels against Thy will;
    I am polluted in Thy sight,
    Yet, Lord have mercy on me still!
    I am polluted in Thy sight,
    Yet, Lord have mercy on me still!

    Without defense to Thee I look,
    To Thee the only Savior fly;
    Without a hope, without a friend,
    In deep distress to Thee I cry,
    Without a hope, without a friend,
    In deep distress to Thee I cry.

    Speak peace to me, my sins forgive,
    Dwell Thou within my heart, O God,
    The guilt and pow’r of sin remove,
    And fit me for Thy blest abode,
    The guilt and pow’r of sin remove,
    And fit me for Thy blest abode.

  6. Paul Mermilliod November 30, 2010 at 7:40 PM #

    God of Wrath – David Crowder

  7. Jamie Mason November 30, 2010 at 8:14 PM #

    Fortress 144 – Brian Doerkson

    “Part Your heavens and come down
    touch the mountains so they burn with fire.
    Send forth lightning from on high
    scatter all who would oppose you light”

  8. Jonathan H November 30, 2010 at 11:08 PM #

    Some lyrics that come to mind from Getty/Townend hymns:

    “The proud He scatters to the wind
    As the ruler’s strength is broken,
    And the rich are left with nothing.”
    (My Soul Will Magnify The Lord (The Magnificat), verse 2)

    “”Jesus is Lord!”—a shout of joy, a cry of anguish,
    As He returns, and ev’ry knee bows low.
    Then ev’ry eye and ev’ry heart will see His glory,
    The Judge of all will take His children home.”
    (Jesus Is Lord, verse 4)

    “Then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
    For the Conqueror has risen!
    And as the stone is rolled away,
    And Christ emerges from the grave,
    This vict’ry march continues till the day
    Ev’ry eye and heart shall see Him.”
    (O Church Arise, verse 3)

  9. Julie Halitzka December 1, 2010 at 12:28 AM #

    A Mighty Fortress, Christy Nockels

    “Our God is the only righteous judge
    ruling over us in kindness and wisdom” (v.1)

  10. Zac Hicks December 1, 2010 at 12:44 AM #

    Thank you, Bob, for this!

    Barry above referenced “Lo He Comes.”

    In honor (not the right word) of this important worship topic, we’ve made our Coldplay-ish, quite “judgmental”-sounding version of this great hymn available for FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD:

    http://www.zachicks.com/freelohe/

    Enjoy, and pass it along. Available through 1/31/11.

  11. susan hart December 1, 2010 at 8:12 AM #

    what about “God Shall Arise”? we did it for the first time this past sunday and one of the leaders explained the lyrics ahead of time.

    • Bob Kauflin December 1, 2010 at 8:48 AM #

      Thanks, Susan. I added that song to the post.

  12. Jason D. December 1, 2010 at 9:50 AM #

    At our church, for years now, we sing “The Lord Reigns” based on Psalm 97:

    “A fire goes before Him
    And burns up all His enemies.
    The hills melt like wax
    At the presence of the Lord.”

  13. Rod Fultz December 1, 2010 at 10:43 AM #

    Bob,
    Thank you for pointing us in this direction. God’s judgment is indeed an increasingly neglected aspect of His character in our society. I know we are not supposed to rejoice in others facing doom…. but the dirge like feel of Newton’s song seems so foreign today. Couldn’t you grace us with a new tune for those powerful words? :)

  14. Larry Harrison December 1, 2010 at 1:10 PM #

    I can’t see anywhere that these have been mentioned but are two of my favorite because of the way they address God’s wrath and judgment:

    “Jesus Thank You” (…”the Father’s wrath completely satisified, Jesus thank you!”)

    “Before the Throne of God Above” – (…”when satan tempts me to despair and tells me of the guilt within, upward I look and see Him there, who made an end to all my sin, because the sinless Savior died, my sinful soul is counted free, for God the Just is satisfied to look on Him and pardon me!”)

  15. Jeff McCourt December 1, 2010 at 2:15 PM #

    My friend, Jason French, penned these lyrics that we sang recently at our church to the tune of “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” (aka “I Will Arise and Go To Jesus”). Jason is currently on staff at Bethlehem Baptist in Mpls, MN.

    Are You Ready For the Judgment?

    Are you ready for the judgment when we stand before his throne?
    We will stand before King Jesus, God forbid we stand alone!

    On our own we all are sinners! Evil! Guilty! Vile! Depraved!
    If the verdict stands against us judgment will not be delayed!

    Am I ready for the judgment, when I stand before His throne?
    I will stand before King Jesus! God forbid I stand alone!

    Wretched man, Oh, who will save me! Who will save my soul from hell!
    Is there one who will stand with me to declare that all is well?

    There is One who will stand in for us! Taking all our guilt and shame!
    Bearing all our sin and sorrow – Jesus is His holy name!

    Am I ready for the judgment, when I stand before His throne?
    I will stand before King Jesus! God forbid I stand alone!

    Jesus is our only Savior, He absorbed the wrath of God!
    On the cross He died to save us, through the shedding of His blood!

    If you now by faith receive Him, as your Savior and your Lord,
    If He is your greatest treasure, He will be your great reward!

    I am ready for the judgment, when I stand before His throne!
    I will stand before King Jesus! I will stand by grace alone!

  16. David Ward December 2, 2010 at 10:48 AM #

    Bob,

    I adapted the first hymn on your list (and I agree that it’s perhaps the best comprehensive hymn on judgment day) to fit the tune of the hymn “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted” and made some lyrical updates. That tune is very fitting, in my opinion, to the sober mood of the text. You can see the adapted lyrics here: http://www.reformedpraise.org/songs/hymntexts/day-of-judgment-day-of-wonders/

    For Christ and His church
    David

  17. Barry Wallace December 2, 2010 at 11:14 AM #

    @Zac – Thanks for the link to your version of Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending. It’s excellent.

  18. Aaron December 2, 2010 at 12:02 PM #

    Your Love O Lord, . . Third Day

    “Your Justice flows like the ocean tide”

  19. Brian December 2, 2010 at 9:56 PM #

    The Love of God

    When years of time shall pass away
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall
    When men who here refuse to pray
    On rocks and hills and mountains call
    God’s love so sure shall still endure
    All measureless and strong
    Redeeming grace to Adam’s race
    The saints’ and angels’ song

  20. Chris Ashton December 5, 2010 at 8:41 AM #

    ***Day of Wrath, O Day of Mourning***

    I’m sure Bob, or someone else, can set it to a more modern, but equally sombre and serious tune.

    Day of wrath, O day of mourning!
    See fulfilled the prophet’s warning,
    Heaven and earth in ashes burning.
    Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth
    When from Heav’n the Judge descendeth
    On Whose sentence all dependeth!

    Wondrous sound the trumpet flingeth,
    Through earth’s sepulchers it ringeth,
    All before the throne it bringeth.
    Death is struck and nature quaking;
    All creation is awaking,
    To its Judge an answer making.

    Lo, the book, exactly worded,
    Wherein all hath been recorded;
    Thence shall judgment be awarded.
    When the Judge His seat attaineth
    And each hidden deed arraigneth,
    Nothing unavenged remaineth.

    What shall I, frail man, be pleading?
    Who for me be interceding
    When the just are mercy needing?
    King of majesty tremendous,
    Who dost free salvation send us,
    Fount of pity, then befriend us.

    Think, good Jesus, my salvation
    Caused Thy wondrous incarnation;
    Leave me not to reprobation!
    Faint and weary Thou hast sought me,
    On the cross of suffering bought me;
    Shall such grace be vainly brought me?

    Righteous Judge, for sin’s pollution
    Grant Thy gift of absolution
    Ere that day of retribution!
    Guilty, now I pour my moaning,
    All my shame with anguish owning:
    Spare, O God, Thy suppliant groaning!

    From that sinful woman shriven,
    From the dying thief forgiven,
    Thou to me a hope hast given.
    Worthless are my prayers and sighing;
    Yet, good Lord, in grace complying,
    Rescue me from fires undying.

    With Thy favored sheep, oh, place me!
    Nor among the goats abase me,
    But to Thy right hand upraise me.
    While the wicked are confounded,
    Doomed to flames of woe unbounded,
    Call me, with Thy saints surrounded.

    Low I kneel with heart submission,
    See, like ashes, my contrition;
    Help me in my last condition!
    Day of sorrow, day of weeping,
    When, in dust no longer sleeping,
    Man awakes in Thy dread keeping!

  21. Kito Espiritu December 22, 2010 at 9:56 AM #

    Thanks for these leads. I’ll definitely be looking them up.

  22. Neil Foster June 10, 2011 at 8:48 AM #

    This is late for this thread, but I just read it via a later one. Has anyone here mentioned the excellent song “See Him Coming” from Mark Peterson? Not explicitly about judgment, but about the Second Coming and a great song.

  23. Ty Watilo August 14, 2012 at 5:33 PM #

    Awesome God by Rich Mullins

  24. Wyeth Duncan September 17, 2015 at 9:34 PM #

    And must I be to judgment brought,
    And answer in that day
    For ev’ry vain and idle thought,
    And ev’ry word I say?

    Yes, ev’ry secret of my heart
    Shall shortly be made known,
    And I receive my just desert
    For all that I have done.

    How careful, then ought I to live,
    With what religious fear,
    Who such a strict account must give
    For my behavior here!

    Thou awful Judge of quick and dead,
    The watchful pow’r bestow!
    So shall I to my ways take heed,
    To all I speak or do.

    If now Thou standest at the door,
    O let me feel Thee near,
    And make my peace with God, before
    I at Thy bar appear.

    My peace Thou hast already made,
    While hanging on the tree;
    My sins He on Thy body laid,
    And punished them in Thee.

    Ah! might I, Lord, the virtue prove
    Of Thine atoning blood,
    And know Thou ever liv’st above,
    My Advocate with God.

    Receive the answer of Thy prayer,
    The sense of sin forgiven,
    And follow Thee with loving care,
    And go in peace to Heaven.

    Words: Charles Wesley (1707-1788), 1763
    Music: “Martyrdom” by Hugh Wilson (1766-1824), 1800

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