Have you ever noticed that it is really easy to try to squeeze God into our own theology? We can know what we want God to be, and it is then easy to look at the Bible to make it fit our description. Something I pray whenever I read the Bible is that God would show me what I need to learn. I don't want to read something to fit in what I want to believe and support a false belief; I want truth. I want to know what God is saying about who He is and how He wants me to live - even if that means that I am seeing how I need to change. All week long I have been studying how only God is truly just and I realized that I haven't completely explained what I mean when I use the word, justice. Justice is one of those words that can have some different layers of meaning and can cause some confusion, so I want to spend some time today clarifying where I am coming from. Please read Micah 6:8 to see the context I am looking at.
The word used in this verse for justice is mishpat in Hebrew. This is a complex word because it has several meanings including judgement, an ordinance, or a decision. It also means right or proper. So, we can look at justice to mean that a judgement is being passed down or a rule is being put into place. However, looking at the rest of the verse and even the context of the the chapter, I don't think that is the definition that fits here. When I looked at the verse in Hebrew, the word before mishpat was asah, which means "to do." So this verse is saying "to do justice," which I find interesting. According to dictionary.com, to do justice means to do the right thing. The other thing that I am looking at is the fact that the other two commands have to do with how we relate to people and God. We are to show mercy to others and we are to walk humbly with God. So, it almost seems that it is a relational context in which we are to do the right thing.
We are to do the right thing in the way we treat people. Isaiah 1:16-17 uses the mishpat in a similar context. In this verse we are told to seek justice and then we are told to defend those cannot defend themselves. We are to seek out what is the right way to treat people and then rectify the injustices we see. That is the context of the word justice that I am studying this week. Are we seeking to undo injustices? Are we doing the right thing in the way we treat people? Loving our neighbor is the kind of justice God wants us to exercise.
Where can you start to do justice?
This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday.