THERE HAS TO BE JUSTICE
What do you need to tell God about in order to be real with him as you come to his Word today?
Read Jeremiah 5:14–31
14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:
“Because the people have spoken these words,
I will make my words in your mouth a fire
and these people the wood it consumes.
15 People of Israel,” declares the Lord,
“I am bringing a distant nation against you—
an ancient and enduring nation,
a people whose language you do not know,
whose speech you do not understand.
16 Their quivers are like an open grave;
all of them are mighty warriors.
17 They will devour your harvests and food,
devour your sons and daughters;
they will devour your flocks and herds,
devour your vines and fig trees.
With the sword they will destroy
the fortified cities in which you trust.
18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy you completely. 19 And when the people ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’
20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob
and proclaim it in Judah:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,
who have eyes but do not see,
who have ears but do not hear:
22 Should you not fear me?” declares the Lord.
“Should you not tremble in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,
an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
they may roar, but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;
they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains in season,
who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
your sins have deprived you of good.
26 “Among my people are the wicked
who lie in wait like men who snare birds
and like those who set traps to catch people.
27 Like cages full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
they have become rich and powerful
28 and have grown fat and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;
they do not defend the just cause of the poor.
29 Should I not punish them for this?”
declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself
on such a nation as this?
30 “A horrible and shocking thing
has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy lies,
the priests rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
But what will you do in the end?
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat injustices fire you up?
The lecture hall was half-full with Christian Union students and their non-Christian friends gathered to hear a talk on “Why would a good God allow suffering?” The speaker stood on the stage with his fist clenched, tears breaking through Jeremiah-like, his voice quivering: “There has to be justice!” He apologized for the eruption of emotion, but his point was made—when we consider the evil done in this world, we all want judgment. It’s just that we don’t want to admit that we also deserve it.
The denial of God’s Word (13,14), idolatry (17c,19), unfettered greed (26–28), disregard of the vulnerable in society (28), the denial of God’s very existence (22–25)—these were what characterized the people of Judah. Even the religious leaders twisted God’s Word, and their piety was a sham (31). There wasn’t a hint of remorse or guilt: “my people love it this way” (31b). And so there has to be justice—a good God would not allow such evil to go on unpunished (29).
Is our world today any different? In 2008, trillions of dollars were gathered to bail out the wealthiest of the world who through greed and foolishness had almost destroyed the whole financial system. It would take a fraction of that amount to provide medicines and clean water to the poor of the world. There has to be justice.
What do you need to repent of today? Don’t put it off.
God of Justice, teach me how to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You (Mic. 6:8).
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