Trusting God to Uphold Justice
Text: Matthew 5 : 1 - 12
Would God uphold justice even if imprecatory prayers were NOT uttered? Let us ponder over this text.
“The Lord is in His holy temple,
The Lord’s throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold,
His eyelids test the sons of men.
The Lord tests the righteous,
But the wicked and the one who loves violence
His soul hates.
Upon the wicked He will rain coals;
Fire and brimstone and a burning wind
Shall be the portion of their cup.
For the Lord is righteous,
He loves righteousness;
His countenance beholds the upright.”
Jesus wanted His disciples to trust in God’s righteousness. He will in His time deal with the wicked. He wanted His disciples to be able to go beyond feelings of frustration or anger should their lives be threatened in their ministry for Him.
THE STRUGGLE TO LEARN THE VIRTUE OF BEING MERCIFUL
Psalm 35 is a classic portion of Scripture to study. On the one hand, the psalmist cries out to God for justice. The language of the psalmist is imprecatory in nature.
“Let those be put to shame and brought to dishonour
Who seek after my life;
Let those be turned back and brought to confusion
Who plot my hurt.
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
And let the angel of the Lord chase them.
Let their way be dark and slippery,
And let the angel of the Lord pursue them.
For without cause they have hidden their net for me in a pit,
Which they have dug without cause for my life.
Let destruction come upon him unexpectedly,
And let his net that he has hidden catch himself;
Into that very destruction let him fall.”
We can well understand and even identify with the psalmist as he poured out his soul to the Lord. However, this psalm also had an extra element. The psalmist struggled within himself even as he pleaded with God for swift justice.
“Fierce witnesses rise up;
They ask me things that I do not know.
They reward me evil for good,
To the sorrow of my soul.
But as for me, when they were sick,
My clothing was sackcloth;
I humbled myself with fasting;
And my prayer would return to my own heart.
I paced about as though he were my friend or brother;
I bowed down heavily, as one who mourns for his mother.”
The psalmist fought to understand the two elements raging within his soul. On the one hand, there was this deep sense of anger felt because of the misdeeds of the enemy. On the other hand, there was somehow a deeper sense of pity and compassion for the adversary.
Jesus wanted His disciples to win this battle of the soul. To follow Him is to walk the path that He was treading. There is to be full trust in the Lord and His righteousness. The true disciple must show such depth of character that he would not choose imprecation as his response! He chooses mercy instead.
THE CULTIVATION OF A LIFE MARKED BY MERCY
Psalm 37 is a remarkable portion of Scripture to read. Let us ponder this section of the psalm.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down;
For the Lord upholds him with His hand.
I have been young, and now am old;
Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken,
Nor his descendants begging bread.
He is ever merciful, and lends,
And his descendants are blessed.”
The challenge to practise mercy as a way of life could not be clearer in this text. The merciful is indeed “a good man” and “righteous”. He is specially blessed by the Lord. God delights in such a man.
There may be times when he may fall, but he must trust that the Lord is there to uphold him. The righteous and good man continues to practise mercy as his way of life. This, Jesus wanted His disciples to practise. “Blessed are the merciful”.