Justice in the MorningDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
This is what the LORD says to the dynasty of David: “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."
Jeremiah 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.