Passion for Justice
I reverence You, Lord. How marvelous are Your wondrous ways, how kind is Your forgiving grace.
Read PSALM 58:1-11
 For the director of music. To the tune of “Do Not Destroy.” Of David. A
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Administering justice in a complex world can be difficult at times. Leaders in the political and judicial world need a firm grasp on integrity.
David is angry. He’s not mildly troubled or privately indignant. His is a white-hot anger for all to hear, expressed in violent terms that will be unpalatable to many of us. He is outraged at the corrupt behavior of the judiciary with their “calculated ruthlessness thought out and meted out with businesslike efficiency … an unsleeping eagerness for domination” (D. Kidner). His language is highly graphic as he asks for God’s intervention and judgment upon them, that their power might be torn from them like lion’s fangs being broken and torn out (6) and their control of others to evaporate “like a slug melting away” (8).
These men were meant to protect the innocent, those who were poor and powerless, against unscrupulous assaults. The word “rulers” (1) is literally “gods,” a title applied to those whose administrative positions called upon them to act as earthly representatives of God’s heavenly court (Mic. 2:1,2). Yet Israelite society had been troubled from Samuel’s day (1 Sam. 8:3; Isa. 1:23; Amos 5:10-13; 2 Sam. 15:1-4) with corruption. Justice in their hands proved to be a scarce commodity!
The psalms encompass a breadth of human emotions, but they often express God’s concerns, too. David is confident that “surely there is a God who judges the earth” (11). Justice will be done but that doesn’t mean merely sitting around hoping that it will eventually be all right. We may find the language difficult but here is passion about injustice, about the exploitation of those who are vulnerable. We would not advocate the violent response indicated here, but where are we in tackling injustice, in really investing ourselves through prayer and action to make a difference? Are we too comfortable or so preoccupied with church maintenance that we have little room or energy for the justice that is on God’s heart?
What social injustice or tyranny gets you stirred up? How is that reflected in your prayers?
Sovereign Lord, sometimes I feel overwhelmed at the scale of injustice here, and around the world. Show me ways I can work for justice in my world.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2023 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.