March 2, 2018 • Life for Leaders
The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
Psalm 99 begins by proclaiming that “The LORD reigns” (99:1). God is sovereign, not only over Israel, but over all nations (99:2). Therefore all nations should tremble and praise God’s “great and awesome name” (99:3).
Verse 4 adds to this picture of the sovereign God who is worthy of our praise: “The King is mighty, he loves justice.” Though God is strong and can do whatever he wishes, he is not a king who oppresses or takes advantage of his subjects. Rather, he “loves justice.” He treats people with “equity” (99:4).
The words “justice” and “equity” are frequently found in Scripture in relationship both to God and to those who seek to obey him. So, for example, Psalm 9:8 says of the Lord, “He rules the world in righteousness and judges the peoples with equity.” Isaiah 11:4 adds: “But with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.” In Leviticus 19:15, the Lord calls his people to similar behavior: “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.”
These texts remind us that justice often has to do with people who are vulnerable and therefore liable to unjust treatment. Thus, the poor are frequently mentioned when it comes to divine justice. Not only should they be treated fairly in legal matters, but they should also receive particular care from those who love the Lord. As Proverbs 19:17 reveals, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD.”
We often think of justice in political or legal terms. While we rightly expect our leaders to govern justly and judges to rule justly, you and I can seek God’s justice in our own spheres of life. If you’re a boss, you can treat your employees justly. If you’re coaching your daughter’s soccer team, you can treat all players fairly. As a member of Christ’s church, you can work with your sisters and brothers to help the poor receive not only care but also the support and training they need to live fruitful lives.
Our commitment to justice comes not only from the example of God, and not only from the commands of Scripture, but also from the fact that God, our King, loves justice. We love God, in part, by doing what he loves.
Something to Think About:
When you hear the word “justice,” what comes to mind?
Why do you think God loves justice?
In what ways are you seeking justice in the context of your work?
Something to Do:
Take some time to prayerfully reflect on your work. Are there new ways you could seek justice at work? What might this look like? Do something tangible today that is an expression of your commitment to God’s justice.
Gracious God, when Scripture says that you love something, we pay attention. Psalm 99 reveals that you love justice. You love to do it and you love it when your people do it. This is good to know!
Help us, Lord, to be people who love what you love and who do what you love. May we seek your justice in our daily lives, in our workplaces, in all of our relationships. May we join with your people so that your justice might transform not just our lives but our whole world. Let your justice roll down like water, Lord! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
How Can We Exalt God?
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.