Fear, Justice, and Blessing
Israel Restored to the Land
I will display my glory among the nations; and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt treacherously with me. So I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.
Therefore thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for my holy name. They shall forget their shame, and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they live securely in their land with no one to make them afraid, when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have displayed my holiness in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will leave none of them behind; and I will never again hide my face from them, when I pour out my spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord God.
The Certainty of God’s Promise1
When God made a promise to Abraham, because he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “I will surely bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently endured, obtained the promise. Human beings, of course, swear by someone greater than themselves, and an oath given as confirmation puts an end to all dispute. In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath, so that through two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible that God would prove false, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters the inner shrine behind the curtain, where Jesus, a forerunner on our behalf, has entered, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
Depending on which side of justice you stand on at any given moment, you may have a variety of feelings. Typically we associate anger as the feelings of the victims of wrongdoing, although this is not always the case. Likewise, we often expect some degree of fear in the perpetrators, especially if they have thus far escaped punishment. When we are faced with issues of justice involving an all-knowing and all-powerful God though, we get pushed into one of those two camps: anger or fear, even more often. People change. God does not.
Mark Batterson writes about letting go of fear and distraction and focusing on your immediate surroundings. In his book, The Circle Maker Mark challenges us to start small, in our immediate areas of concerns (desires and fears) and begin to pray for revival to begin in those areas. It is a beautiful concept and it relates well to how we experience and involve ourselves in justice.
There is so much injustice in the world, that it is impossible to take it all on at once. So instead, we break it up into various pieces and assign them different degrees of worth. If I asked you personally, which was the worst kind of injustice: racial injustice, economic injustice, spiritual/religious injustice, or political injustice – you might tell me they are all equally bad. However, a quick glance down your Facebook page would probably give us an idea of which of these you focus on more, to the neglect of others. We can’t do it all. Our best and brightest look for the connections between various forms of injustice, and while they may be seeing the bigger picture, it does not make correcting situations easier, it only make it more complicated..
So for today, lets focus on something we can actually work with: our own justice issues. What if we drew the circle around ourselves and asked God to bring justice there? How would that make you feel? Fearful or happy? Could you really stand for God’s will to be done through your life, even if it was not being done in everyone else around you?
Yet the path to true blessing goes through justice, just as the path to eternal life goes through the cross. You have a cross too. Jesus did not die on a cross so you could avoid justice yourself. He died on it so that you would live through the experience of justice being done. And that may not be truly accurate either, because He calls us to come and die so that we might be raised again (born again) in new life. We ourselves have to undergo justice and put away all that is not in God’s will if we are going to reach blessing on the other side.
What fears come to mind when you think of justice being done in your life?
What joys come to mind when you think of justice being done in your life?
What can you do today to invite God’s will and justice to be fulfilled in you?
- (Cp Gen 12:1–3)↩