God Desires Justice

KEY VERSE: “That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.” —Deuteronomy 16:20

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Deuteronomy 16:18-20; 24:10-15, 17-19

JUSTICE can be defined as the maintenance or administration of what is right in a fair and impartial way and according to a standard. Except for the legal implications associated with justice there is virtually no difference between the meaning of justice and righteousness. The Scriptures abundantly confirm that God is the supreme judge and lawgiver and that he is a lover of righteousness and justice. The psalmist speaks of this prime facet of God’s character. “Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.”—Ps. 89:14

In the Tabernacle type, God very beautifully illustrated the various facets of his character. In the Most Holy, which represented the presence of God himself, there was just one item of furniture—the Ark of the Covenant. The lid of the Ark, the Mercy Seat, was a slab of gold. Beaten out of the same piece of gold were two cherubim—one on each end of the lid. (Exod. 37:6-9) This complete cover or lid of the Ark was called the propitiatory—the place where atonement for sins was made. The blood of the bullock and the blood of the Lord’s goat were sprinkled on the Mercy Seat on the Day of Atonement to atone for the sins of Aaron and his house and the sins of the people.

We believe the cherubim on each end of the propitiatory illustrated additional facets of God’s character. One pictured love and the other power. Between the cherubim was a light that glowed, which pictured God’s presence or his wisdom. The beauty of the illustration is shown by the fact that all of the various parts of God’s character are closely related. For example, God would not exercise justice without calling into play love, wisdom, and power. And, likewise, when he exercises love he calls into play justice, wisdom, and power. This interplay of the various aspects of God’s character is not generally understood. Too often God is visualized as exacting strict, unrelenting justice without mercy. But the Scriptures tell us that he is merciful and longsuffering to the meek and repentant of heart.

The love and mercy of God is described in a beautiful psalm by the Prophet David: “He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear [reverence] him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear [reverence] him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. … But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear [reverence] him … to such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.” (Ps. 103:10-18) Jehovah demonstrated his mercy and long-suffering in his dealings with his covenanted people, the Israelites. For some 1800 years he rewarded them for their faithfulness and punished them for their disobedience. In many instances he pleaded with them to repent of their transgressions so that it would not be necessary to punish them.—Joel 2:12-14; Deut. chapter 28; Ezek. 18:19-23

God’s wisdom is far superior to that of imperfect men and, therefore, if man is to find favor with the Creator it is his responsibility to recognize this and endeavor to understand God’s ways. Jehovah, speaking through the Prophet Jeremiah, said: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom … but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”—Jer. 9:23,24

During the Gospel Age, the church, because of their enlightened minds, have the first opportunity to know the Heavenly Father, and appreciate the wonderful qualities of his character. These qualities are revealed in his Word and demonstrated in his divine plan of the ages. For it is in the outworking of this plan that we see the practical application of justice, love, wisdom, and power.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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