CULTURE OF JUSTICE

June 5, 2018

 

DEUTERONOMY 19

 

A culture of justice for the people of God is simply a reflection of the nature of God. When we think of God’s commands, we think of them as rules that we have to keep but they are more than rules but a way of reflecting and relating to God. God’s commands are set in place so that we know how to relate to God and others. When we know and reflect God,  we are creating a culture of justice where people are honored as life is cherished. God lays down rules and regulations on how to live in a way where justice is preserved, life honored, and the people of God united by God. Today we explore some points on how a culture of justice and righteousness operates.

 

NOTES ON THE TEXT

 

  • A culture of justice honors and preserves life (v.1-13)

    • In the first thirteen verses, God gives clear instructions on how to protect the life of a person that has accidentally murdered someone. There is a clear example of what that looks like and what the difference between an accident and intentional taking of life is. As God created life and is the source of life, He is a being that cherishes it and will do what He can to protect it without compromising His just nature. A command of God is that we should not murder. But in the case that it was an accident, God has set up cities within the nation where people can run to and not be punished for their accident because the price of taking a life was to give a life. These cities of refuge shows that God is not black and white all the time in that God only follows a strict formula of carrying things out. God is wise in His judgements and it is religious people that have rigid lines that will do whatever it takes to get a quick answer and never move away from formulas. Yes someone has technically murdered another person but because it was an accident and God cherishes/honors life, He does’t simply demand the life of the person who committed the act in innocence but seeks to do the right thing where His grace opens an opportunity for redemption that leads to a life preserved. When we see people make mistakes, do we automatically seek full punishment of the person or seek justice in a way where we don’t shame people but keep them accountable to their actions? Better yet, do we seek justice in our own lives where we ourselves made the mistake and rather than shaming ourselves we acknowledge the mistake but allow the grace of God to bring redemption in our lives? Justice does not excuse us to shame ourselves and others as we are called to honor each other and always cherish life. Let us not be quick to condemn people but seek ways for justice to be preserved while honoring people because a lot of times for the sake of justice we allow ourselves to dishonor, demean, or even demonize people. Justice doesn’t excuse dishonor.

 

  • Righteousness is exercised in obedience to God’s commands (v. 8-10)

    • Two things I noticed from these verse when righteousness is exercised, which are the following:

      • When righteousness is exercised, the blessing increases as promises are being fulfilled

      • As you thrive in the midst of increasing blessing, the ability to steward righteous living and preserving life is made possible because your obedience is enabled and sustained by God.

 

  • Righteousness seeks the truth even though it is the longer route to take (v.15-21)

    • You know what, sometimes it is very inefficient and burdensome to do the right thing but in the end we realize that doing the right thing may have taken more work and time but was more rewarding in the end. This last set of rules in practicing righteousness through justice reflects God’s nature of relentlessly seeking out the truth and not compromising in that task. Anyone can bring an accusation and if we just simply took the word of just one witness, than we are not truly executing justice because anyone can say anything. I noticed that humans have a tendency to live off of assumption more than truth because it is easier but that type of culture only destroys relationships/lives. When the Israelites go the extra mile to get multiple witnesses to confirm the truth, it guards against the possibility of false accusations and corruption. To develop a culture of justice and righteousness, we must be a people that will not compromise our efforts in doing whatever we can to seek every possible avenue of getting to the truth!

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