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Connect the Testaments

June 3: Searching for Justice
2 Chronicles 6:12–8:18; Titus 1:10–16; Psalm 94:1–23
“Do you favor justice or mercy?” Trick question. Both responses are technically incorrect: God’s ways require mercy and justice. Mercy cannot be fully known without perfect justice, and justice without mercy is harsh and graceless.
God’s mercy is a regular topic in Christian communities, but we often shy away from discussing His justice. This leaves us on our own to confront the injustices we commit against Him and others, those committed against us, and our own unjust nature. Carrying out God’s justice feels scary because it requires making large-scale changes in our world. But we can’t carry out His justice if we act only from the right purpose—we must also act in His way.
The psalmist cries out for justice: “O Yahweh, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth. Rise up, O Judge of the earth.… They crush your people, O Yahweh; they oppress your inheritance. They kill widow and stranger, and they murder orphans while they say, ‘Yah does not see’ ” (Psa. 94:1–2, 5–7).
In this plea, we see that the psalmist both understands God’s nature and realizes His capabilities. The psalmist exhorts Yahweh to act. In doing so, he cites injustices against those to whom God’s people were called to show mercy (e.g., Deut. 14:29; 16:11–12; 24:19–20). The widow, orphan, and stranger are also those whom Yahweh cares for and advocates (e.g., Exod. 22:22–24; Deut. 10:18). Ultimately, the psalmist is reminding Yahweh of His role.
This request teaches us something fundamental about justice. Although the psalmist plays a role in the cause of justice, he is not the primary actor; Yahweh is. Justice is God’s work.
How can you harmonize your views of justice and mercy? How can you act more justly today?
John D. Barry


 Barry, John D., and Rebecca Kruyswijk. Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012. Print.

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