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Friday, March 10, 2023
"When Justice Is Perverted"
Message summary: Let us as God's people continue to reflect and demonstrate the holy character of God in being just.
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"Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted" (Habakkuk 1:4). "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
Now in my sixties there are many things I have never done in life. One is my civic duty to serve on a jury. I was scheduled to serve on a jury about 25 years ago in New England but that trial was canceled. About ten years earlier I was impaneled to serve on a jury where we lived in Northern Pennsylvania (see the brief note following the devotional for a report of my experience).
Today we hear a lot about social justice and certainly all earnest followers of Christ should be concerned with justice. A fundamental attribute of God is His Justness.
The justice of God is the absence and impossibility of any moral disorder within Himself. God's justice is thus equivalent to His infinite holiness and perfect goodness.
The law given by Moses served as the basis for justice in the Israelites' society. When the law was ignored, rampant injustice followed and the daily verse describes these conditions.
Most Bible scholars believe Habakkuk served God at the time immediately prior to God's judgment and the Babylonian exile. However there was a temporary period of prosperity at this time and it had a lulling effect on all but the most faithful. Times were good; who needs God? Sound familiar?
Today's text, although describing that period, in so many ways describes our own age: "Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted" (Habakkuk 1:4). It's so uncannily contemporary you may wonder what version words it this way (NIV). However other well known versions are very similar:
"Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth." (KJV)
"Therefore the Law is ignored, And justice is never upheld. For the wicked surround the righteous; Therefore justice comes out confused." (NASB)
"So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted." (ESV)
(See here for this verse in many versions)
During this period Habakkuk declared:
These words sure seem to describe our own age. In fact often the word "justice" itself has been perverted and turned around. What is actually justice is called injustice and what is actually an injustice is called justice. This not only applies to the criminal justice system but to many areas of life. It's related to calling evil good and good evil.
Let us, as God's people, continue to reflect and demonstrate the holy character of God in being just. As another Old Testament prophet says, "He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God" (Micah 6:8).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, when we read in Habakkuk about the law being paralyzed or powerless to the people of the land it seems to be describing our day as corruption and evil is not only tolerated but is being signed into law while the biblical foundation upon which our land was founded and has stood upon is being pulled out from under us. Justice does not prevail when wicked rulers or spineless cowards, whether in law, education, business or religion, close their eyes to the narrow path of righteousness and instead enter the broad gate that leads to destruction. Make us strong and courageous so that we don't align ourselves with that which undermines the truth of Holy Scriptures that are able to make us wise unto salvation. Help us always to do justly, love mercy and to walk humbly with You, our Lord and Savior in these perilous days. It's in His name that we pray. Amen.
“Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.” George Orwell
My experience as a juror:
This happened in upstate Pennsylvania when I was impaneled and it was such an eye opener for me. It involved a drunk driving case that resulted in an injury. In final juror selection the defense attorney questioned all the prospective jurors to determine if they might have a prejudice that would hinder their impartiality.
The defense attorney asked questions such as, "Are you a member of MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)? Do you know anybody that's a member of MADD? Etc. Etc. I was excused from serving presumably because I was a conservative minister likely profiled as a non-drinker. (Later the District Attorney verified this). And indeed I am both, (a conservative and non-drinker) although I feel that would not have prevented me from being objective and capable of demonstrating justice.
I had blocked the day off and decided to hang around and observe the trial. It was a very interesting defense. Amazingly the defense did not deny that the defendant had been drinking or was even drunk when the police arrived and gave him the sobriety test. Their basic contention was that due to the time he left the bar he was not yet actually drunk at the precise time of the accident since the alcohol had not had time to circulate through his system. A high priced "expert witness" was brought in from out of state to explain this view. Well, at least the simple folks in that part of the country (many of whom used and knew plenty about alcohol) could see through such a flimsy excuse. I talked to the District Attorney after the trial and the defendant was found guilty. Justice prevailed in this case!
Another example of what I suspect is injustice: The other day I received a check for 16 cents (pardon my coffee stains!). Apparently unbeknownst to me I was part of a class action lawsuit against Apple. I checked out the website and it appears to be legitimate. Essentially I must have had an Apple phone many years ago and Apple had done something to violate their contract (best I can determine using non Apple servers). Well, some law group noticed this and decided to fight for the little guys (like me) and filed a class action against Apple on our behalf. Apple settled for millions of dollars and my share was a paltry 16 cents (I assume others as well). But how much do you suppose the admin costs were (it would have cost more to mail out the check than the face value) and then there would of course be the exorbitant attorney fees. I am not defending Apple but I hardly think the attorneys that ginned up this suit were being altruistic!
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Micah 6:8" Click to listen on YouTube Maranatha Music A great way to learn a Scripture verse is to sing it, However I am unaware of any music for our text from Habakkuk today.
Last night we attended a concert with musician Brooke Ligertwood from New Zealand who has written many of the worship songs we enjoy singing. WJTL sponsored the concert which was much more like a worship service than a concert. It was the very first night that she launched her tour "Seven" and was held at Calvary Church where we attend. The worship was much like that which I envision heaven to be when we stand face to face with the King of kings. When we came to the worship song, "What a Beautiful Name It Is" the atmosphere took us to a higher plain of awe and majesty of our all-powerful God. I wish we could have captured it on camera but it wouldn't be the same. The instrumentation and amplification was many decibals higher than our ears were comfortable with, but we could still very much enjoy the worship, the biblically rich lyrics presented in song, and the worshipful spirit of Brooke and the band members.
"Communion" Click to listen on YouTube Brooke Ligertwood
"I Belong To Jesus" Click to listen on YouTube Brooke Ligertwood
"Nineveh" Click to listen on YouTube Brooke Ligertwood
Holy Spirit help me see
Where there is Nineveh in me
Turn away Your wrath once more
God have mercy
What does it mean that God is just? From Compelling Truth website
After the concert the two birthday girls stood together - Nickie, a WJTL announcer who turned 50 years old, and Ester who turned 34. Ester is enjoying her expanded birthday blessings as she attended Newboys about a week ago and will see Mark Lowry on the 19th. She enjoys these concerts and often attends them as a volunteer for WJTL.
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