Psalms · Psalms Book 1 · Thoughts

A shadow of justice

Justice. It’s a word that has been said often the last few days. People are looking for justice for George. And yesterday the verdict in a human trial with a human judge and a human jury was handed down.

We all want justice. Justice for the wrongs done to us. Justice for the wrongs done to others. Justice for the pain. Justice for the hurt. Justice.

Psalm 7 calls upon God to judge. To decree justice is the way the NIV84 phrases it in verse 6. And God is the only one who can decree true justice. Why? First because God is the only one who is righteous. And secondly because it is God who tests the minds and hearts. Verse 9 says:

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts O righteous God.

Ps. 7:9 NRSV

That is a prayer for justice. Most people would agree to the first half of the verse: O let the evil of the wicked come to an end! As followers of Jesus though, we know that the second half of the verse is the only way that true justice can ever be had.

Even those who don’t follow God know that justice requires an honest judge and full knowledge of the event. We have laws against crooked judges, and we have laws against hate crimes. Hate crimes are crimes that are committed because in the mind and heart of the perpetrator there is hate and anger for the victim and what they stand for. But can we really know that? We can guess. We can make a judgement. But our judgments are fallible. We can be wrong. Our justice system can be wrong. Just Mercy by Brian Stevenson is a heartbreaking read about just how wrong our justice system can be and how devastating that is for those who receive that misplaced justice.

So we turn to God. We ask him to wake up and decree justice. Because he is righteous and because He has complete knowledge of each and everyone of us. And the psalmist praises God because his justice is completely right. And it will put an end to evil and make the righteous secure.

Justice here in human courts is never full justice. Did yesterday’s verdict bring George back from the dead? No. George’s family may see his killer punished, but they have still lost George. And so we can only have a shadow of justice this side of heaven. Only in God will we see true justice for George. And true justice for all.

And so we pray:

O let the evil of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous, you who test the minds and hearts O righteous God.

Ps. 7:9 NRSV

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