Is Justice Worth It?

Title: Is Justice Worth It?
Is seeking justice a futile effort? Our friend Micah Bournes uses his picturesque voice to share with us what it means to suffer, identify, and commune with others in the pursuit of authentic justice – all in two minutes. Definitely worth your watch.

ODJ: justice and snacks

July 21, 2015 

READ: Psalm 99:1-5 

Mighty King, lover of justice, you have established fairness. You have acted with justice and righteousness throughout Israel (v.4).

They say that justice is blind, but recent research suggests that justice likes to snack as well! In 2010 a team of researchers tracked the rulings of eight judges during 1,100 parole-board hearings over 10 months. Nearly 65 percent of the prisoners were granted parole during hearings held right after the judges had eaten breakfast. Over the next few hours, the chances of getting a favourable parole hearing plummeted. But the prisoners’ chances of parole increased to 65 percent again after the judges’ mid-morning snack or lunch.

Let’s face it; human justice is flawed. So it’s good to know that the God of the universe doesn’t base His rulings on having had mid-morning snacks or lunch.

The psalmist called for all people to praise God’s awesome and great name, for He’s the Creator of the universe—the One exalted above the nations (Psalm 99:3). They were to praise His name because He is Lord and King and is sovereign in His rule over the world. But not only were they to praise Him because of His sovereign ways, but also because He is righteous and just in His judgement of humanity.

The Lord loves justice, has established fairness, is perfectly righteous and is the source of impartial and unbiased judgements (vv.4-5). No matter the time of day, God is wholly absorbed with what’s right.

Through Jesus, we’re recipients of God’s righteousness. No matter the time of day, we can live out His just and merciful ways by His power. May we seek His strength and courage to defend the weak, vindicate those who have no human champions and be wholly absorbed with doing what’s right in our world where justice is flawed. Justice received is justice shared. No snack required.

——Marvin Williams

365-day-plan: Matthew 15:32–16:12

Read Matthew 25:34-36 and James 2:17 to see the marks of someone who is just. 
Besides living in a fallen world, what are some other reasons why human justice is flawed? What are some specific ways you can think, speak and behave justly this week? 

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ODJ: unfair

June 30, 2015 

READ: Psalm 37:1-20 

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes (v.7).

Which of these two questions causes you to squirm the most: Why do seemingly honourable people suffer? or Why do the people who do bad things prosper? I wrestle with both of them. For instance, it makes we wonder why people who strike unethical deals and cheat on their contracts seem to get away with their schemes and even prosper, while people who are seeking to live for Jesus struggle to pay their bills.

Psalm 37 has some answers for life’s tough questions. It’s one of the many ‘wisdom psalms’ in the Bible (others include Psalms 1,14,25,34,49,73), which address the issues and doubts that can arise in life. These psalms are ancient songs that provide wisdom for how to process life’s questions and confusion even when things aren’t going well (v.30).

David, in Psalm 37, deals with the unfairness and injustices of life. He looks ahead and warns of the bitter future for those who choose to live life apart from God. “For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither” (v.2). David wants us to understand that there will be accountability in the next life when we chose to live for self in this one. Those who do so “have no future” (v.38).

By contrast, the life rescued by God is able to focus on His ultimate justice instead of life’s apparent inequities. David encourages the child of God to be still in His presence, wait patiently for Him to act and continue to live in Him and His grace (vv.3-8,27).

Why? Because He “holds them by the hand” (vv.23-24). What great encouragement when we feel life is unfair! Not only is God with us, but He promises that we can find salvation and shelter in Him (vv.28-29).

—K.T. Sim

365-day-plan: Matthew 5:31-48

Read Psalm 73 and see how Asaph struggled with the perplexing issue of the prosperity of the wicked. What was his conclusion (v.17), and how is it similar to David’s conclusion in Psalm 37? 
Consider the wisdom of Psalm 37:16. Why do you agree or disagree with this instruction? What unfair events in your life do you need to bring to Jesus in prayer today? 

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ODJ: flood of justice

August 28, 2014 

READ: Amos 5:10-24 

I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living (v.24).

“God judges sin because he loathes what it does to us and to others. There is no other motive in God, nothing deeper than His love for us. He wants us to loathe sin, too—and be its executioner. If we won’t, he will!” —David Roper (Elijah: A Man Like Us)

God hates sin. He hates injustice. So when Hispeople were living unjust lives—enjoying prosperitybut showing no compassion for the poor—He called them on it.

He sent Amos to deliver His verdict.

The prophet didn’t hold back when God gave him His message of condemnation. He let the people of Israel have it. Called by God from the southern kingdom of Judah, Amos trekked north to the shrine at Bethel. And there he boldly proclaimed God’s message in that place God abhorred—a shrine that used a calf idol in worship. This sinful, ugly place reflected the idolatrous nature of the heart of the people of Israel’s northern kingdom.

“You trample the poor . . . . You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts,” Amos bellowed (Amos 5:11-12). God had seen the injustice of His people, and the prophet had been sent to expose their “sins and the depth of [their] rebellions” (v.12). God saw through the nation’s false worship. He said through Amos, “Away with your noisy hymns of praise!” (v.23).

What would He say of you and me? Are we worshipping Him while indulging injustice and ignoring the pleas of the poor?

“I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living” (v.24). These words, spoken by Amos, reveal the just, loving heart of God. May we embrace His call to seek justice for the poor and needy in this age. Let the waters of life and righteousness rise and flood our land. —Tom Felten

365-day plan› John 12:1-11

Read Deuteronomy 10:18 and consider what it says about the heart of God.
When you consider that all people are made in God’s image, how does this affect your view of the poor and needy? How can you help provide justice for those who need it in your part of the world?

(Check out Our Daily Journey website!)