Devotion for 3 April 2020 - Dealing with injustice
Kia Ora Cambridge Baptist and our friends from Taumarunui Baptist,
You know if we had any doubt about human depravity watching people fight in our supermarkets for toilet paper should have cured us of that notion. But I must admit the news report on Wednesday that someone had stolen a a COVID-19 testing station tent in Botany was a new low on my depravity scale. Some people would suggest that it would serve them right to catch the virus from the tent - but hey I couldn’t possibly comment.
In today’s devotion put out by Redeemer on Psalm 109, the Psalmist asks God to measure out justice to those who falsely accuse him. But if God has the task of measuring out justice what does that mean for us when we wrong someone? Let’s find out by reading the Psalm 109:21-31.
But you, Sovereign Lord,
help me for your name’s sake;
out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.
22 For I am poor and needy,
and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
when they see me, they shake their heads.
26 Help me, Lord my God;
save me according to your unfailing love.
27 Let them know that it is your hand,
that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
may those who attack me be put to shame,
but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
30 With my mouth I will greatly extol the Lord;
in the great throng of worshipers I will praise him.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save their lives from those who would condemn them.
In this passage we see that psalmist appeals to God to deal with his false accusers by shaming them and bringing them dishonour, “by wrapping them in a cloak of shame”, as the Psalmist so poetically puts it. The idea of public shaming in Western culture can make us uncomfortable because we have become accustomed to our Courts meeting out justice to perpetrators in a codified and impartial manner. But for many in the world where Justice is not so blind, there is little victims can do but pray for a higher power to meet out justice for them.
However, even in New Zealand there are many situations where we are wronged and taken advantage of where there is no remedy through the Courts. When people say cruel and untrue things about us. When we are excluded or left out. When we miss out on a promotion to someone less deserving at work. In these situations, do we try and get some pay back or do we bottle these hurts and injustices up then explode or become mentally unwell.
The Psalmist shows us there is a better way. He asks God act on his behalf. He chooses to allow a just and holy God to deal with those who have wronged him instead of seeking retribution himself or bottling these hurts up.
But its important to grasp if God were only forgiving but not just, there would be nowhere for us to go when we are treated unjustly by others. God’s holiness will not tolerate injustice. As comforting as that sounds at first, its sobering to realise we are also unjust, so unless there is some remedy for us, we will be judged with the same judgment as our oppressors. And that’s a scary thought when we consider the Holiness of God. The only reason the psalmist (or we) can have the confidence to appeal to God is because Christ has already spoken on our behalf. When Christ cried out to God from the cross, he was rejected and scorned because he was taking the place of a sinful humanity. Now we can appeal to God because he looks at us through the sinless Christ who spoke on our behalf. We can have peace injustice because Christ has paid the price for our injustice and He is more than capable of upholding his righteousness and holiness.
Holy Father, we praise you for sending Christ to cover our own acts of injustice towards you so that we can have a relationship with you. We thank you that you listen to our appeals when we have been wronged and that you will hear us in your compassion and mercy. Help us to bring our pleas to you instead of seeking our retribution when we are sinned against. In Christ’s Name, Amen.
May God's peace and protection be on you.