Merciful Justice

gods justice

2 Samuel 14:14 We will certainly die and be like water poured out on the ground, which can’t be recovered. But God would not take away a life; He would devise plans so that the one banished from Him does not remain banished.

At one time or another, we’ve all heard or maybe even said, “He’ll get what he deserves.” The phrase is common because of an instinctual expectation for fairness in life, for justice. You do well, you deserve good. You do poorly, you deserve less. This sense of justice is reinforced at a young age. Do well in school, get an A. Do poorly, get an F. Behave and get a gold star. Misbehave and lose your recess. Even as adults, when we excel at our work, we get a raise. Laziness results in demotion or job loss. Of course, mostly we think of justice in a criminal context. Do what’s right, stay free. Do what’s wrong and lose your freedom or even your life.

In a way, it’s black and white, logic based and almost mathematic. Personally, I like that, probably too much. I think David liked it, too.

His son Absalom had killed Amnon, his brother, and the king had banished him for it. It was just. And king David stood on that even when his heart yearned for Absalom. Justice must be done. Joab noted the king’s sorrowful disposition and called for a very intelligent woman who visited the king and successfully convinced him to change his mind.  She said to David,

“He (God) would devise plans so that the one banished from Him does not remain banished.”

Some versions read, “He plots so that the one who is cast out will be cast out no longer.”

Consider that God’s justice is different than man’s.  Punishment equitable to the crime is just in our minds, but God is interested in seeing the prisoner, the outcast and the banished set free and then reconciled to right standing. In fact, He’s more than interested. He’s devising ways to get it done.

Maybe God’s justice includes mercy and even grace.

Mercy is not black and white or logic based at all! And grace? It even goes beyond mercy! Mercy cancels the sentence and relents from punishment, but grace goes even further, extending a hand of help and the hope of restoration to one who deserves only the rod.

I pray that we partner with God in his plot to bring us and others closer to Him, but I also pray for myself, that I would adopt a new sense of justice; one that is never void of mercy and grace.

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