Journey of Justice Part #2

Posted: March 15, 2012 in Pastor Posts
Deuteronomy 10:16-22

16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. 17 For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. 18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. 20 Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. 21 He is your praise; he is your God, who performed for you those great and awesome wonders you saw with your own eyes. 22 Your forefathers who went down into Egypt were seventy in all, and now the LORD your God has made you as numerous as the stars in the sky.

Thoughts on Deuteronomy 10:

What can we learn about the justice of God from this passage? While the passage does not mention justice specifically, it gives us a first-hand look at the character and nature of God. The passage begins with a warning from God to the nation of Israel that circumcision, the outward sign of God’s inward work, was not enough. The outward sign must be accompanied by the inward work. The people are described as “stiff-necked.” Stiff-necked is a common way of saying stubborn, obstinate or intractable. Contrasted with these stubborn and hard-hearted people is YHWH, the Lord your God.

Verse 17 begins in the typical Biblical fashion of describing the Lord. He is God of gods and Lord of lords. He is simply amazing. We are very familiar with these descriptions of God. However, the tone takes a definite shift at the end of verse 17. God does not play favorites and accepts no bribes? That is new! We do not often describe God that way. In fact, we often say things of God such as, “God is not fair.” By the way, thank goodness that God is gracious and not fair. However, this verse shows that God does not play favorites, nor does God advantage Himself at the expense of His creation. While we cannot say God is fair (because if he were we would all be in Hell), we can say that God is just.

In fact, according to verses 18-19, God goes beyond passive justice (not doing things that are unjust) and exhibits active justice. God takes on the cause of those who are less fortunate. God looks out for those who are unable to look out for themselves! He then commands his followers do so, as well. This sets an incredible precedent that is carried forward in the New Testament. Jesus clearly demonstrates a love for those who have needs. In fact, two very well-known parables take Jesus’ example and emphatically command us to do the same (Matt. 25:31-46, Luke 10:25-37). James continues his Brother’s call to serve the poor in his epistle where he says,

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?

Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 1:27-2:12)

Verses 20-22, remind us why obedience in this way is so important. God is God! We need a holy and righteous fear of God. At the end of time, do we really want to stand before the God described in these verses and have to explain why we ignored the people He pri? Why have some received blessing and other haven’t? The answer is that God expects those with blessing to bless those without. Thus all ultimately receive blessing. Are you who have been so abundantly (both in the spiritual and physical sense) been blessed following through on God’s expectation for you? God gave His son for you. What are you giving for Him? Because, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Jesus in Matt. 25:40)

Written by Pastor Dave

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