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Justice: fair, righteous, honesty, integrity
A while back I got to reading Matthew chapter 9. Jesus was eating with the publicans, the tax collectors, and the sinners when His disciples were approached by the Pharisees.
“Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” they asked.
Jesus answered, “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Then again, in chapter 12:7, He says, “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.”
And so I set out to find out what that meant, and what scripture (if any) He was quoting. As I did, I discovered the same message throughout scripture.
“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6
“Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” – Micah 6:7-8
And so He’s talking about the law here, and how many worshipped the law and the covenants in the Old Testament, more than they worshipped God Himself.
Then I got to thinking. Going to church, giving tithes, singing hymns, leading Bible studies, being kind to the people I worship with… those are all gifts I bring to the King, but if I’m not living justly, loving mercifully, and walking humbly, I’m not truly worshipping God, I’m worshipping a lifestyle.
The Bible warns us about the last days when. Many will stand before God and say, “Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”
And then He will profess unto them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
When we do good to others, we do good to Him. When we exercise mercy, and kindness, and grace, we bring glory to Him.
This past week, I looked at the lives of David and Joseph. I saw men of integrity, who made tough but good choices as they exercised mercy and kindness. What really struck me the most was how they went against the grain of human nature. They chose to follow the divine nature of God. They did more than offer God a sacrifice, they became a living sacrifice, by giving up their own will for His.
We’re giving the same choices in life. We can either despise the people who hurt us, or we can choose to walk humbly, exercise mercy and forgive as God forgave us.
Is it easy? Not usually, but virtue rarely is. It calls us to pick up our cross and to carry it day after day. It calls us to build upon the faith that we have. It calls us to love as God loves.
You are loved by an almighty God,
The Time-Warp Wife
P.S. Don’t forget to print the new coloring page below!
Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife – Genesis 39
This chapter reminds me that temptation is persistent at times, but a faithful servant is more persistent yet!
We must turn away from sin, and keep turning away from it regardless of what it might cost us. Joseph kept himself from sin, because his love for God was greater than his love for this world.
His compass was set on the Lord. His eyes were focused on God’s will for his life. Regardless of what detours he took, Joseph continually trusted that God had a plan for His life and that God was at work.
This attitude is the key to contentment. It gives us a sense of peace regardless of our circumstances because we can rest in the knowledge that we’re in the palm of God’s hand.
Even when Joseph was in prison we see, “The Lord was with him.”
We have nothing to fear when our trust is in Him.
Joseph is Faithful and Just – Genesis 45
What I love about this chapter is how Joseph chose God’s will over his own. He exercised kindness and grace to those who have hurt him the most.
He didn’t want an apology, and he didn’t expect retribution. What he wanted the most was to glorify God.
He was just and fair and giving and kind, which excels human nature. When we serve God we put aside our selfish desires to mirror His goodness and grace. We walk in humility and kindness when its most difficult to do, we love our enemies, and forgive those who hurt us, so that we too might bring glory to God.
David Spares Saul’s Life – 1 Samuel 24
When David’s friends told him that this opportunity to overtake Saul was ordained by God, David wisely followed his conscience instead of their plan. He exercised integrity, and chose a path that was pleasing to God. People will often tell us that it’s God’s will for us to do this or do that, but if it doesn’t line up with our conscience we should wait for direction that does.
Saul was bent on destroying David, but David was bent on serving the Lord. Despite everything Saul had done to harm David—chasing him down, plotting to kill him, giving his wife to another man–David chose to honor Saul, because this man was anointed by God.
This teaches me much about letting God fight my battles. It teaches me to choose well when I’m hurt, and to honor the people that God has put in my path and those he has placed in authority.
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