“Absalom would get up early and stand by the side of the road leading to the city gate. Whenever anyone came with a complaint to be placed before the king for a decision, Absalom would call out to him, ‘What own are you from?’ He would answer, ‘Your servant is from one of he tribes of Israel.’ Then Absalom would say to him, ‘Look, your claims are valid and proper, but there is no representative of he king to hear you.’ And Absalom would add, ‘If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then everyone who has a complaint or case could come to me and I would see that he gets justice.’ Also, whenever anyone approached him to bow down before him, Absalom would reach out his hand, take hold of him and kiss him. Absalom behaved in this way toward all the Israelites who came to the king asking for justice, and so he stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” (2nd Samuel15:2–6)
Not every appearance of acting justly issues forth in justice as this account of Absalom demonstrates.
A nation must not neglect setting up court systems for its people. The people must not too eagerly follow every voice calling for reform either.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, we are reminded that every nation has the responsibility to set up court systems for their people, and then be held accountable that justice is being done for all, and not merely for a few. In this chapter, we see that Absalom moves slowly and surely towards concealing his evil plots against his own father. Abba, help to always used the Spirit to discern those things that are presented to us, to avoid being deceived by those that may seem good, and assure us that evil is not being introduced to us by the evil one, who uses any and all means to undermine Your creation. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Don’t let your resolve desolve.”
“I myself have seen a fool taking root, but suddenly his house was cursed. His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender. The hungry consume his harvest, taking it even from among thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth. For hardship does no spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward. So the poor have hope, and injustice shut its mouth.” (Job5:3-7, 16)
In His sovereignty God is good. His justice will be done. Eliphaz was correct in His statement about God, who is the ultimate hope of he poor and oppressed. In using the theological truth to judge Job’s case, Eliphaz erred. Every individual does not get immediate justice from God.
Eliphaz knew that some suffering was disciplinary, designed by God to draw the sinner back to Him. He decided this explained Job’s grief. If Job would listen to God, he could learn from this tragedy. His theology was correct. He applied it to the wrong case. Suffering has more than one purpose. Human wisdom cannot decide the purpose of suffering in another person’s life.
“The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are he garden of his delight. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress. Who to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.” (Isaiah5:7–8)
Small peasant holdings were passing into the hands of aristocrats. The call of the prophets was for restoration of he poor to their place of economic, social, and political independence. The basis for this call is in the nature of God’s justice that calls for relief from injustice. He expects righteousness instead of riots and legality instead of lamentation.
SECOND THOUGHT of the DAY:
“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. Se what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.” (2nd Corinthians7:10–11)
Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow are here contrasted. The Corinthians Christians are examples of godly sorrow. Repentance and salvation are the fruit of godly sorrow, over our sins. This grief that leaves no regret is the kind salvation teaches.
The repentance is known by several characteristics. One, which modern Christianity has not always honored, is that of the concern for justice and the eagerness to act on that concern.