Ever since I attended Passion last year, my ears have pricked up when I hear the word “justice.” I heard about the atrocities in the world in real and all too near ways. Passion focused on the plight of 27 million men, women, and children in the world who are currently in slavery. There is evil. There is oppression. There is injustice.
Lately, I’ve been reading through the Psalms. The book of varied emotions and burdened heart cries. Psalm 10:17-18 reads: “O LORD, you hear the desires of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.”
I love, first of all, the confidence that the author of this Psalm gives in the Lord’s actions. Not “you may,” or “please do this,” or “hopefully.” The writer continually says, “You will…” with no qualms or hesitation. The author can make these unequivocal statements because he knows the Lord’s character. Yes, God is love. All love. The definition of love. And He is also just. The very definition of just!
Second, the phrase “incline your ear.” It’s beautiful. I picture a parent stooping down, leaning in, attentively listening to his child’s cries. Tenderly wiping tears and reassuring his little one that there is hope.
I also see the phrase “do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed.” These are a synecdoche (a part representing something larger), that is, God isn’t only interested in doing justice for the fatherless, but also the motherless, and the poor, and the disabled, and the slave. He is interested in justice for those who are disenfranchised.
Here’s what many miss though — God cares for people in all kinds of oppression. He cares for the 27 million in slavery in the world today, of course our minds jump there easily. But He also cares for the billions in spiritual bondage to sin! These people need a savior from a deeper and deadlier kind of slavery. But herein lies the beauty of the gospel – for God is both JUST and THE JUSTIFIER (Romans 3:26). God must punish sin, there is no excusing it. Therefore, He provided a way for the sin to be punished and the sinner to be saved.
The way is Jesus.
The ultimate end to slavery.