The scripture reading for today is Deuteronomy 16:18 – 20, ESV.
“you shall appoint judges and officers in all your towns that the Lord your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they shall judge the people with righteous judgement. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous. Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
Justice is important to God. Nowadays, the word itself often provokes emotion and connotations of protests and picket signs. Other scripture options for today’s devotion (Psalm 15 and 1Pet 3: 8 – 12) provide some ideas about how Biblical justice can be promoted.
Most obvious, we are to appoint good judges. I am Soooo guilty of not knowing enough about the judge candidates I vote for. As I think about it, this is embarrassing. I feel convicted and am committed to researching candidates for judges before I vote next time.
We are to be impartial. Inherent in this concept seems to be the notion that we need to consider that our own personal views could potentially be flawed. (Heavens no!!) The values and opinions of those diabolically opposed to us are still important. Furthermore, in being fair, we could try to consider the possibility that doing what seems best for one person or sector can set a precedent that could not fairly be implemented for all. In executing impartiality, our feelings may not be the best guide to what is right. (Just a thought, anyway.)
Another plan for achieving justice is the pursuance of peace. Seems obvious and yet it is a big request. This subject has been tackled by many smarter than I. Still I will offer one brief thought. We can seek peace personally by accepting conflict graciously, with gentle honesty and true desire for resolution. Conflicts are natural and failure to confront them only brings temporary and false peace.
The Bible instructs us to hate evil. But what does evil even look like? Most of us envision mass shootings or child beating. Some identify disease as a sign of evil in this world. In the spirit of being truly non-judgmental, I have to ask myself: Do I have the propensity to commit evil? Thankfully, I can say confidently that on the obvious levels, I do not. Still James says that he who sees the good he could do and does not do it, sins. Do we possibly allow evil to continue with our inaction? Do we hate evil enough?
1 Peter 3: 8 – 9 says “. . . have unity of mind, brotherly love, a tender heart and a humble mind.” To me, all this indicates that the quest for justice starts at home.
Dear Heavenly Father, Help my eyes to be open to the ways I could represent You in this world. And please give me strength to follow through. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Juli Hampton firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayer Concern: those who have suffered wrong judgements.