Justice in the Morning
Jeremiah 21:12Jeremiah 21:12-14 is a prophetic word for Judah’s royal family, the descendants of King David. It begins:
"Give justice each morning to the people you judge!
Help those who have been robbed;
rescue them from their oppressors.
Otherwise, my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire
because of all your sins." (21:12)
What does it mean for the king to execute justice each morning? In ancient Israel, the king was the ultimate legal judge, rather like our Supreme Court. Thus he had the responsibility for deciding judicial matters. Yet he was to give justice to the people, not only in his judgments, but also in his laws and policies. The Lord expected the king, for example, to help those who had been robbed, not only to find the robbers guilty. The phrase “each morning” could refer to the morning gatherings (to avoid the midday heat), but probably means “day by day.” The king was to act justly, not just once in a while, but every single day.
Though none of us are a kings with legal and executive authority, at least as far as I know, most of us have been placed in positions of leadership, at work or in our families, at church or in our communities. Jeremiah 21 reminds us that God expects us to seek justice each day, wherever we have the opportunity to do so. In particular, we are called as God’s people to look out for those who are victims of injustice and to extend our help to them.
In order to be just leaders, we must depend on God’s word and seek his wisdom. There are times in my life when I am particularly aware of my limitations as one who seeks to do justice. How should I deal with an employee who is trying hard but not living up to my expectations? How should I respond when my children do all the things that really matter well but leave their rooms in a mess? In these situations and so many others, my desire to be a just leader brings me to my knees before God.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Where do you have opportunities to exercise justice as a leader? In which of these settings do you find yourself most in need of God’s help?PRAYER: O Lord, even as you once called the leaders of Judah to “give justice each morning,” so you call me to the same. I am no king, and my authority is relatively small. But you have given me leadership in several realms, especially in my family and at work. So I ask for your guidance. May I discern rightly what it means to lead with justice. May I know how to balance justice with mercy.
Today I’m reminded to pray for my leaders. I ask for your blessing on those who are over me at work. Give them your vision and judgment. Thank you for their faithfulness in seeking you and guiding me.
I also pray for the leaders of my city, county, state, and country. In challenging times, they need your guidance. Show them what justice means and give them a commitment to do what’s right, even when it’s unpopular.
I pray in the name of Jesus, our just and gracious Judge, Amen.
Summer at Laity Lodge: Retreat on the Integrated Life
June 10-13, 2010
This retreat features two leading scholars, recognized experts in their fields. Dr. Allan Josephson is a Professor and Associate Chair for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Louisville. He will be exploring similarities between the findings of psychiatry and the text of Scripture as he focuses on trust, limits, and families. Joining Allan will be Dr. John Medina, a Laity Lodge favorite. John is an Affiliate Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. He is also the author of the bestselling book Brain Rules. John will speak on the implications of current brain research for Christian disciples, human identity, and family relationships.
Musicians for this retreat include a longtime friend of Laity Lodge, Stephen Clapp, Dean Emeritus of the Juilliard School and a brilliant violinist. Accompanying him will be Sean Jackson, who trained under Stephen and is a wonderful pianist.
Rounding out the resource team for this retreat will be printmaker Anita Horton and painter Debbie Taylor.
For more information about this retreat and the other Laity Lodge summer retreats, check our website. You can register online or by contacting our Registrar, Ann Jack ([email protected]; 830-792-1230).