Photo. Stu Kerns, hiking, somewhere cool. 2011 fb.
Intro. One of the attributes of God is justice. Christians may cause oppression in their sinful choices but God is not oppressive and is perfectly just. Micah 6:8. To live humbly before God is to walk in justice. This is what it means to be a follower of God.
The big idea: God is a God of justice, and because of his mercy to us sinners in Christ, causes us to live justly.
Point one. The life of justice
Justice is the Hebrew word “mishpot”. Justice means to give people their due. One part is negative (stop and punish wrong) and one side is positive (give the oppressed, the weak, the vulnerable their due). Who are the poor? The poor includes the quartet of the volnerable: the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, and the poor.
Job 31. Ignoring the poor is unjust just like oppressing the poor.
Vs7-9. Doing justice is feeding the hungry, working with the sick and blind, counseling the mentally burdened, helping the immigrant. This sounds like a liberal agenda. However, the Bible does not fit into our categories of liberal (ie. feed the poor) and conservative (ie. forgive others and sex is only for marriage). It is in its own category all by itself.
We have to live a life of justice.
Point two. The God of justice
Deuteronomy 10. God loves to use his power to defend the weak and powerless. This is how God introduces himself like on his business card. Notice that other gods are there to help the kings and wealthy but not the poor. For example, look at Naaman’s understanding of God. He comes to buy his healing of leprosy.
Point three. How to live a life of justice before God?
This psalm is not just telling us about the God of justice, but it is a worship song deep in the psalmist’s heart. What captures your imagination is what you praise and worship. As a result, you are shaped from the inside out. He is using his mind and memory to kindle his emotions about God.
The problem: it is one thing to get excited about a God of love and grace – but a God of justice? Jesus’ sermon on the mount is about living justly, and it scares us. We are not good at living justly. We are not loving of our neighbor as ourself. How can we love a God of justice when we know that his justice should whack us for not living justly?
How can the Lord stand by me as this Psalm says?
Luke 4 quotes Isaiah 61 in Jesus’ first sermon. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me to do justice, Jesus says. However, he stops at quoting thus passage through the part of the year of the Lord’s favor and does not read through the part of the vengeance of our God. Why did Jesus stop mid verse? He stopped because He did not come to bring the vengeance of God – he came to BEAR the vengeance of God. Jesus did not just stand by us. He stood FOR us when he went to the cross.
James 2 says if you have faith but ignore the needs of others, you have dead faith. If you have real faith, you will not be able to ignore the poor because you see that that is how you used to be spiritiually – utterly broke.
We are the perpetrators of injustice before God for all that he has done and given us. How do we humbly do justice? Bold humility. We are so unjust that Jesus had to die for us in our place to take care of God’s perfect justice. Also, we are so loved that we have been died for that we can now take this beautiful message of justice out in a whinsome and powerful way.