I know that often, when it comes to Bible reading, our filters factor in to what catches our attention. Whether it’s what’s going on in our lives as individuals, or in our gospel community as a church body, or in our community at large and the current events reported in the news cycles, what’s front and center in our minds when we’re not reading the Bible, can be a pretty powerful funnel through which the living and active word is received when we are reading our Bibles.
But that’s not to say that what hits our radar isn’t still of the Spirit. To be sure, we need to be aware of personal bias, but not to the exclusion of any consideration that the events around us can make ready “good soil” for what God wants to sow within us.
So, that’s why I’m thinking a somewhat obscure verse in 1Chronicles pops off the page this morning. Because of the events of the past several weeks around me AND, because I trust the Spirit of God is continuing His lifelong work of sanctification in me. Thus, this morning I’m chewing on justice and equity to all.
So David reigned over all Israel, and he administered justice and equity to all his people.
(1Chronicles 18:14 ESV)
David was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22). Not a perfect man, yet a persistent pursuer of God. Not all his actions were upright, but his fear of God was unwavering. Throughout his life, not a faultless man, nevertheless a repentant man (Ps. 51) and a forgiven man (Ps. 103:1-5, 11-12). So, I’m thinking, when David was at the top of his game, he was a model for what a man of God, and a leader under God, should look like. And when David reigned at the top of his game, he administered justice and equity to all his people.
Lot of talk about justice and equity these days. For me and many in my circles, at least, talk that seems to have found “ears to hear.” To be honest, in the past I would have paid little attention and waited for things to settle down and wanted things just to move on. But this time it’s different. And I’ve found myself wrestling with the relationship between the gospel and justice and equity to all. Not sure I have answers, but convinced it’s a question worth noodling on.
So this morning what hits me is, if David was a man after God’s own heart, and if, when David was at the top of his game and God was actively present in the affairs of his kingdom, he administered justice and equity to all, then, shouldn’t justice and equity be the model for kingdoms of earth influenced by the kingdom of heaven? I’m thinkin . . .
While in my past I have had opportunity to share the gospel in minimum security prisons, and to serve meals along with a message in downtown missions, if I’m honest with myself, I think I’ve had a position, if not explicitly at least implicitly, that “the gospel” and “social justice” are somehow on opposite ends of a continuum. But recently I’ve been increasingly challenged to think about the relationship between the gospel and justice and equity to all.
To be sure, this is a decaying and dark world. It needs the good news of the gospel. But beyond the message, how is the good news manifest by those who are to be salt and light to this decaying and dark world? How are glimpses of the “Thy kingdom come” to be reflected through the ambassadors of that kingdom who are here now?
Our God is a just God. Our God is a God of equity and impartiality. What’s more, all people bear the Imago Dei, as all people are created in the image of God. So, as ambassadors of the good news which rescues from sin and restores the Imago Dei, what part does being advocates of justice and equity to all come into play?
Honestly again, don’t have many answers. But becoming more and more convinced these are some of the right questions to be working through.
Convinced because of encounters of the divine kind, like this morning’s, where an obscure verse in 1Chronicles pops off the page. Aware there might be some bias because the topic is front and center these days, but also sensing it’s because of the resident Teacher within me who is ever present, and ever active in the work of transformation through the renewing of the mind.
This too, evidence of the grace of God. This too, only for the glory of God.