Love And Justice


Sadly, in the history of Israel, God’s vision, his ideal, his calling is not implemented. We find this particularly with the rise of the monarchy, with even the great King Solomon binding the Israelites to accomplish his tasks, forgetting that he is simply one from among his people and should not trust in many wives, great riches or military power (see Deut. 17:14-20).

In this ongoing situation of abuse in Israel, God raises up the great prophets of Israel. There is great debate over who the prophets were and what they were to accomplish. At the very least, we should acknowledge that in addition to telling of future disasters and deliverance, the prophets of Israel had a great deal to say about the situation of Israel in which they found themselves. They brought an urgent message to their contemporary audiences. Not surprisingly, the prophets avail themselves of the great traditions and texts of Israel to bring their case of injustice against the people of Israel and their kings (Isa. 1:15-17).

While the prophets rightly receive much attention regarding God’s demand for justice, for shalom, in his land, we benefit greatly in noting also that the concern for shalom permeates other genres in the great story of the Bible. For example, consider the great traditions of poetry in the Bible. We find in Psalms 9 and 10 (which may originally have been a single poem in a beautiful Hebrew poetic structure known as an “acrostic” in which each successive poetic line begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet) a poetic account of David the king remembering this fundamental quality of his God:

The LORD reigns forever;

     he has established his throne for judgment.

He rules the world in righteousness

      and judges the peoples with equity.

The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,

     a stronghold in times of trouble.

Those who know your name trust in you,

     for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:7-10 

PRAYER: Lord, be my refuge and stronghold as I trust in You. Rule and reign in my life.