Friday, January 7, 2011

justice done

Thus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers.
Judges 9:56

When I read the story of Abimelech and how God judged his ruthless leadership, I wonder if we really understand God's method of just retribution. After all, Abimelech was a leader of Israel. God used this ruthless dictator to keep Canaanites at bay, even though he also abused the people of Israel. That would eventually lead to God taking care of the sinful deeds Abimelech committed.

In the end, God brought him down with the well-timed toss of a stone by a woman. God judged his sin. He brought justice. It was not particularly pretty.

There is a lot of talk today about social justice being a major work of the church. I am not opposed to good works flowing from the gospel, in fact, I am all for it when the gospel is preached. But let's not forget that justice in God's work involves judging sin. That really means that God is the performer of justice. We cannot judge sins. He will settle wrongs. He will "return the evil", as this passage says, with His prevailing will. Vengeance is His, and that is part of justice.

In fact, when I read ALL of scripture, particularly the Old Testament, the retributive justice theme seems very prevalent. And it is solely the work of God, not man. God may use man, like the stone the woman threw from the tower, but it will clearly be God Who gets the credit for the justice done.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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