justice

God is truly just.

God is truly just.

2 Chronicles 19

I was recently having a conversation with friends about justice. Particularly about our "justice" system and whether it correlates to God’s definition of justice. I don’t believe so, and I’ll tell you why. In this world, we are typically limited to a style of "justice" that is more retributive than anything else. For instance, if one person murders another, the only option available to us is to inflict some sort of punishment on the perpetrator for their wrongdoing—whether that be prison time or even sentencing them to death.

Justice for the Unjust {ex22:1,4}

Photo © Unsplash/Niko Manuelides

Photo © Unsplash/Niko Manuelides

What does it matter
if the thief
kills your sheep
or it's found alive?

Why should
a sheep that has vanished
be worth
twice as much
as one that's been repoed?

Maybe it's all about
God getting justice—
not so much for the victim
as for the perp.

For to sneakily get rid
of the trace of your crime
suggests a hardness
not known to the
heart with red hands,
one so inexperienced
as to be caught with the goods.

The harder heart
requires the harsher penalty
in order to
once again
fracture the hull.

Justice for the offended
is a foregone conclusion,
but recasting the offender's heart
is much more difficult
than replacing a sheep.

 

God is beautiful on the inside.

God is beautiful on the inside.

2 Chronicles 3

All I saw in this chapter was gold, gold, gold. Gold on the floors, gold on the ceilings, gold on the walls. Gold, gold everywhere. It must have been something to walk into that dazzling temple, with every surface sparkling and shining. It must have been incredible to walk into the Most Holy Place (if you were the high priest) and see the wings of the sculptured cherubim spanning the room from wall to wall.

God exercises true power.

God exercises true power.

2 Samuel 20

There is an interesting parallel between this chapter and 2 Samuel 8. Both contain a list of David’s officials. The list in 2 Samuel 8 comes after David has advanced to the throne, subdued the enemies of Israel, and returned the ark of God to Jerusalem. In other words, he has followed God’s leading all the way to victory for Israel. The second list (in this chapter) comes after the mess David created for himself with Bathsheba, Uriah, and the ensuing family chaos. See if you can spot the difference between the two lists:

God loves those who hate Him.

God loves those who hate Him.

You love those who hate you! This was the accusation Joab leveled at David after the big battle where David’s son Absalom was killed. David was absolutely devastated by Absalom’s death, so instead of celebrating the victory of his "enemy," David returned home, weeping over the loss of his child. Apparently, Joab didn’t like that:

God is not prejudiced.

God is not prejudiced.

2 SAMUEL 11

Sometimes, Bible chapters seem scant on the information they provide about God. However, there is a very clear statement about God at the end of 2 Samuel 11. After David’s affair with Bathsheba and the ensuing cover-up (which included the premeditated murder of Uriah), the chapter ends with this declaration: "The thing David had done displeased the Lord." (vs 27)

God's justice is different than ours.

God's justice is different than ours.

2 SAMUEL 3

Sometimes it’s difficult to make a statement about God from a chapter in the Bible that doesn’t really mention God at all. However, in this particular chapter, one of the small (and often overlooked) events really stood out to me, and I realized it was a great opportunity to draw a contrast between our type of "justice" and God’s justice.

Perchance to Dream {gn40}

Photo © Unsplash/Johannes Plenio

Photo © Unsplash/Johannes Plenio

If Potiphar
had believed his wife
Joseph would have been put
in the ground

not in the prison
    /which was Potiphar's prison/
    /probably below his house/

which he was then put in charge of
    /because Potiphar wasn't going to let/
    /a false rape allegation/
    /deprive him of his best help/

Potiphar knew Joseph was innocent
but was content to let him languish
    /God knew Potiphar was spineless/
    /but wasn't content to let him starve/

Sometimes
the concessions of weak men
may be all the justice
we can procure
but the God of our fathers
keeps sending dreams

 

God is all about the evidence.

God is all about the evidence.

JOSHUA 20

So, the cities of refuge are finally established in Israel—you know, the places a person could flee if they had accidentally caused a person’s death and were on the run from the blood avenger. In the city of refuge, they would find a haven where they would be safe; there, they would be given the opportunity for a hearing on the incident in question.

Minimum Wage {gn31:4-9}

Photo © Unsplash/Rod Long

Photo © Unsplash/Rod Long

Now Jacob undoubtedly was a wise guy
who'd certainly crafted a few clever crimes,
yet Laban still planned to leave him high and dry,
proceeding to alter his earnings ten times.

But there was a Witness who saw all these things,
and He had a masterful plan up his sleeve—
to stealthily, secretly pull a few strings
and give Jacob more wealth than he could believe.

Poor Laban was waging an ill-fated war:
Whatever he gained, Jacob always had more.

 

God has the best government.

God has the best government.

DEUTERONOMY 10

As I read this chapter, I couldn’t help but think about God’s government versus man-made governments. Specifically, three things were mentioned that brought this comparison to mind: citizen burden, corruption and greed, and treatment of the weakest in society. First, citizen burden: "And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?" (vs 12-13)

God champions women's rights.

God champions women's rights.

NUMBERS 27

Long before there was the National Organization of Women, there was God. In this chapter, the daughters of a man named Zelophehad came to Moses to plead their case: their father had died, never having had any sons, and under the current rules of ownership in Israel, they would be left without any land inheritance. So they said, "Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives." (vs 4)

God is fair.

God is fair.

NUMBERS 25

If you’ve already read the chapter for today, you might be wondering how you can find the "fairness" element in it. It’s a pretty gruesome chapter. The men of Israel went off whoring with some Moabite women — who subsequently took them to church in order to offer sacrifices to their god, Baal. What happened next wasn’t pretty: the ringleaders of this little jaunt were killed and publicly exposed, an Israelite man and Moabite woman were both run through with a sword and killed after acting in open defiance against the Lord’s command, and then a subsequent plague killed thousands of people.

God does not love the poor...

God does not love the poor...

EXODUS 23

...any more than He loves the rich! (I hope you made it to the latter part of the sentence!) Because of Jesus, those of us who follow Christ have a special place in our heart for the poor. We see the outcast and downtrodden in society, and something in us cries out. If you’re like me, you feel like there is so little you can do, but you are compelled to do the small things you can to try to make a difference to those who come across your path.