Love And Justice


In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,

     who are caught in the schemes of his devices….

He lies in wait near the villages;

     from ambush he murders the innocent….

But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;

     you consider their grief and take it in hand.

The victims commit themselves to you;

     you are the helper of the fatherless.

You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted;

     You encourage them, and you listen to their cry,

defending the fatherless and the oppressed,

      so that mere earthly mortals

will never again strike terror. Psalm 10:2, 8, 14, 17-18

We see in these beautiful Psalms that God himself takes note of these cries, and the psalmist here begs for God to act. The cries of the afflicted, the poor, the fatherless, the innocent, do not rise to a deaf heaven. No, God hears. We, too, must struggle to give poetic voice to the violence, oppression and injustice we see in the world. When encountering the lack of shalom—in poverty, in persecution, in disregard of God’s intended wholeness of his world—we do not shrink back in a callous indifference. The poetic cries on behalf of the poor complement the accusatory oracles of the prophets against the oppressors. As we, too, pray the psalms, we can give voice to this same pain, and join with the psalmist to entreat God himself to act.

But there is one more consideration, which aptly serves as the conclusion to our reflections on the Bible and justice. We do not pray the Psalms, identify with narratives, or join with prophetic voices, in isolation from the rest of the Scriptural story. In our final reflections, we will see how this great Israelite tradition of shalom, of justice, finds its glorious end-point in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Far from canceling out or mitigating the concerns of the Old Testament narratives, poetry or prophetic pronouncements, the Lord Jesus Christ comes and walks the land as a fulfillment of all these desires. And as he fulfills these Old Testament desires for justice, he sends us out to follow him as he continues to spread the balm of healing in a troubled world.

PRAYER: Thank You, Lord that You have called me to follow You and to be part of the healing You have brought to our world.