Monday, April 02, 2007

Jeremiah 12:1-16; Psalm 51; Philippians 3:1-14; John 12:9-19

We as humans seek justice throughout our lives, first from our parents, then from friends and even strangers, as evidenced by our overcrowded court systems. But most of all we expect it from God. In Jeremiah 12:1, Jeremiah questions God’s deliverance of justice to the non-believers. Jeremiah sounds a lot like a spoiled child who is not getting his way. He asked, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper?” (Jer. 12:1.). He voiced his displeasure that “the faithless” are allowed to flourish while the faithful suffer.

Exactly what is justice? I suggest these synonyms: fairness, impartiality, righteousness, evenhandedness, fair dealing, honesty and integrity.

As children, most of us, especially those with siblings, complained that our parents did not treat us fairly. My siblings and I were constantly petitioning our parents for fairness in their administration of justice. You would hear, “It’s not fair.” My mother often tells the story of counting jellybeans for our Easter baskets to avoid one of us claiming that he or she had been treated unfairly by not getting as many as everyone else. We definitely carried justice (fairness) to an extreme. After all, had we not all received the jellybeans through no effort of our own?

It was obvious we equated justice (fairness) with getting things our way. Perhaps that is similar to the way Jeremiah saw things. Had God not always provided for his people, Israel? We seem to think we are somehow more deserving or entitled than others. Our sense of justice is complicated by our prideful nature and does not reflect God’s sense of justice. We seem to want God to be more like us rather than us being more like him.

God sent Jesus to live among us and to teach us his ways. By God’s mercy we are not given what we truly deserve, and through his grace we are redeemed. There is “righteousness that comes from God and is by faith” (Phil. 3:9) for which we should strive by “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead” (Phil. 3:13).

We need to present to God our broken and contrite hearts and pray as David did in Psalm 51:10: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” We are all unclean and in need of forgiveness. May David’s prayer of supplication be ours not only at this time, but also throughout our lives.


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