Waiting for Our Just God

Sam Petitfils

"Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.  For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him."  Isaiah 30:18

Most Christians know that they do not always receive immediate answers to prayer.  Often we do, but many times we do not.  Yet what an assuring truth we cherish that we can entrust all of our cares to God (1 Peter 5:7).  We don’t always have an immediate answer to prayer, but we always have the promise.  God always leaves us with something as He reassures us of His love and He never leaves us alone.  Matthew 28:20 (God will always be with us); Hebrews 13:5 (God will not forsake us).

The verse above seems to refer to another matter: waiting for justice.  I’ve known some Christians who seem to equate a desire for justice to carnality.  The Bible does indicate we should always treat our enemies with kindness (Matthew 5:10-12; 2 Timothy 2:24-25).  This, however, does not negate God’s justice, but rather places justice where it belongs: in God’s hands (“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord”.  Hebrews 12:19).  Perfected saints, including apostles and prophets, rejoice in God’s justice (see Revelation 18:20), and the martyred saints wait for it (Revelation 6:9-10).  Just because we bear injustices in this life does not mean we suspend a longing for justice.  God will right all wrongs one day, and will inflict justice in due time, often in this life.  The Psalmist witnessed the prosperity of those who forget God and seemed to prosper, but then realized their ultimate doom (Psalm 37:8-10; Psalm 73:18-19).  To suppose that God is too kind to inflict justice is a major misreading of God’s very nature and is unbiblical (Romans 9:22).

In this life, God commits some matters of justice to governing authorities, whether in government (Romans 13:1-6) or church elders (1 Timothy 5:17; Titus 1:9).  Ordinarily we should not seek to inflict justice for personal injuries we have received (1 Corinthians 6:7-8), though some cases are difficult to decide and each child of God must seek God’s wisdom in these matters.

How do we deal with injustice in this life?

1) Commit it to God
Of course these cravings for justice should be brought to God.  When we commit our feelings to Him, we trust He will take of everything, and He most certainly will.  When we come to Him, we can also expect the peace of God to sustain our troubled hearts (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7).  God wants us to bring our cares and woes to Him.  When we do bring them to Him, we walk in wisdom and can be assured of God’s listening ear.

2) Come to the aid of the oppressed
The great sin of Edom, Israel’s antagonistic neighbor and ancient brother, was rejoicing over Israel’s suffering and not coming to Israel’s aid (Obadiah 12-14).  We cannot imagine how a collective heart could get so cold. We should be quick to come to the aid of the oppressed and discouraged and do something to relieve their suffering.

3) Suspend judgment
Sometimes we secretly rejoice in the misfortunes of others as it seems to put them a rung below us.  But such rejoicing indicates a heart out of tune with God.  Nor should we conclude, like Job’s “friends,” that people who suffer are only getting what they deserve.  If we learn one thing from the Book of Job, it’s we cannot enter into the secret counsels of God.  God has wise reasons why He orders the world the ways He does, and He does not ordinarily provide us with explanations for His actions (Deuteronomy 29:29; Romans 9:19-21). Some people suffer because of sin (1 Corinthians 11:29-32), but many who walk with God also suffer (like Job), and we cannot usually figure it all out.  It’s best to defer all judgment to God and not make rash judgments.  As we indicate above, we can still long for justice, but we must commit it to God’s dear hand.

Do not despair, child of God, for your help comes from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth.  He will not long delay His justice nor fail to rescue the afflicted.  Rejoice, because your help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121:2).

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