How important is justice and injustice to the daily lives of humanity? How important is it to disciples of Jesus Christ? This morning while reading Psalm 58 and Isaiah 10, those questions came to mind.
Justice is a big deal to God. In Matthew 23:23, Jesus describes it as the first component in what he refers to as the "weightier matters of the law." After calling the scribes and Pharisees hypocrites, Jesus grants that they properly tithe but rebukes them for having no concern for justice, mercy, and faithfulness. In Genesis 18:19, the LORD says the reason He chose Abraham was to keep his family in the "way of the LORD." He further describes the way of the LORD as doing righteousness and justice.
In Psalm 58, David's cry is for justice. He asks the question of those with judicial authority if their decisions are just and right. Then in the next verse, he answers his question. He attributes injustice to the wicked and asks God to destroy those who facilitate injustice. When God does, humanity will rejoice because they will know there is a God who judges the earth in righteousness.
Isaiah 10:1 in the NLT says, "What sorrow awaits unjust judges and those who issue unfair laws. They deprive the poor of justice and deny the rights of the needy among my people."
My Strength, it is easy to see injustice but not know how to correct it. As Your children, we ask for wisdom, courage and Your strength to challenge injustice where we see it. Thank You for not only being a just and fair judge but a merciful One also.
As a teacher, this verse confronts me every time I read it. I know it is fair and equitable, but it still causes me to pause. Are the things I teach others true of me? James has already told us not to be hearers only, but doers of the word. (James 1:22) By the lack of harmony between our words and actions, we deceive ourselves. It seems teachers can add to their self-deception by teaching others without having learned for themselves.
Paul discusses the same issue in Romans 2:17-24. In verse 21, he asks the question "you then who teach others, do you not teach yourselves?" Paul concludes with a statement that should cause all believers to stop and evaluate their lives. "You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written,'The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.'"
In Romans 2:24, Paul is saying when believers say one thing and then do another, we dishonor God. Because believers actions don’t match their words, unbelievers blaspheme God.
Therefore, when someone holds himself out as a teacher of God's word and fails to live what he teaches, it is fair and equitable for him to be judged by a stricter standard.
James is applying the principle Jesus taught in Luke 12:47-48. "And that servant who knew his master's will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know and did what deserved a beating will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."
Since Jesus blessed the church by giving her teachers, James isn't saying do not to be a teacher. If the Holy Spirit has gifted you to teach, teach faithfully to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:10-12). Paul says if anyone desires to be an elder in the church that is an honorable task. He also makes the distinction between elders and deacons by saying an elder must be able to teach (1 Timothy 3:1-2).
LORD Jesus, thank You for the gift of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherds and teachers. Holy Spirit, thank You for raising them up in the church so we may be mature in the fullness of Christ. Please protect those You call to the task of teaching the Father's children. May our lives prove the truthfulness of Your word. May we not only teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ but live it!