There is no getting around it – God is concerned about justice for those who have no voice. Justice was a major part of Jesus’ ministry as well. In fact, the word “justice” is used 130 times in the NIV translation of the Bible. Jesus saved some of his harshest words for the religious leaders of his day (the Pharisees) for their apathy about justice for the poor, for widows and foreigners. Today, says Pastor Tim Mengler, God’s method for bringing about justice for people who have no voice “is often us.” Justice is needed across our street and around the world, and we should be ready to respond whether God asks us to provide prayer, physical help, a check, or even a plane ticket to take us to where the need is great. That need, of course, can seem overwhelming at times, but Tim encourages us to take the advice of Mother Teresa: “Help the one in front of you.”
Tim also talks about how we can respond locally to situations like little AJ here in Crystal Lake and globally to situations like Mozambique.
Seek First: Justice of the Kingdom
• In the NIV the word justice is used 130 times.
• The subject of justice was a major theme of the OT prophets.
• The word justice is used in Isaiah approximately 29 times.
• Justice was also a major theme for Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Amos.
o And mentioned in Micah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Zechariah, and Malachi.
The same holds true with Jesus: Justice was a major part of what His ministry and mission was to be about.
• Matt 12:18 We see justice and nations in one verse
• Matt 12:20 The essence of Jesus’ victory on the cross was to bring justice.
• Matt 23:23 A major theme Jesus has in His complaints against the Pharisees is their lack of justice.
• Luke 18:7 It is God’s desire to bring about justice for His people
Proverbs 31:8 The word “speak up” at the beginning in Hebrew is actually open your mouth.
• Then the word at the end “destitute” in Hebrew is really the word vanishing.
• If they can’t speak for themselves, we don’t hear them.
o And if we don’t hear them, then we don’t see their need for justice.
• To seek first justice for those that need it the most, we are going to have to deliberately look for them.
• And we might have to put our own need for justice aside for the sake of the other – as Jesus did.
Verse 9 This verse says largely the same thing but adds the part about judging.
• When the judging is within our power or authority, we are to do it with justice and fairness.
Proverbs 29:7 If we are going to call ourselves followers of Jesus, we are to care about justice.
• The word to care here in the NIV is the Hebrew verb “yawdah”
o Which means to know, in the realm of knowledge.
o The NIV translates it as care, because this verb to know can also speak of intimacy.
The way a man knows “yawdah’s” his wife.
o It’s one thing to know about the justice needed, it’s another thing to care about the justice needed.
• Then in contrast the verse says that it’s the wicked who don’t care about justice.
o “have no so such concern” is from the Hebrew verb to discern or perceive.
• A wicked nature or heart, prevents them from even being able to understand or perceive the need for justice.
o We need the heart of Jesus to even see and understand the need for justice.
Who are these voiceless people who need justice?
Deut 10:17-19 Here in this passage we see, victims of corruptions, children and orphans, widows, foreigners.
• In other passages we see God demand justice for
o Slaves, the hungry, the exploited, the oppressed, the elderly,
o God demands that we pay fair wages
o In today’s language human trafficking victims.