For you have brought about my justice and my just cause.
You sit on the throne judging with righteousness.
“Justice” has become something of a buzzword in our modern culture. Across the globe, many well-intentioned people take the cause for justice into their own hands, bringing about everything from rallies to riots, from earnest involvement to vigilantism, from due process to revenge. Lit within every unseared conscience is a flame of right and wrong, burning eagerly to see justice done for the oppressed, downtrodden, and less-fortunate—a fire I truly believe parallels the heart of our God in Whose image we are made. He, too, does not make light the matter of justice.
Justice is also something we feel close to the heart as it pertains to our personal experiences. From a young age, one phrase many children master is the cry of “It’s not fair!” All debates aside as to whether it’s truly injustice to receive a piece of cake .002 inches skinnier than a sibling’s, the fact remains that this offense comes from a sense that they’ve been dealt with unjustly—that there is a wrong to make right. Even the youngest and most innocent among us form an early sense of what is and isn’t right, fair, and just.
But though we burn for justice from childhood, often just as early as we’re confronted with the truth of a fallen world: life isn’t fair, right, and just in a realm under the power of our hateful enemy (1 John 5:19). People continue to be oppressed, trodden on, and faced with misfortune. Death, disease, and suffering abound. In countless situations we find ourselves slandered, mocked, lied about or lied to, taken advantage of, or in some other way mistreated. This sounds a lot like our forefather David who, despite doing what was right, faced treacherous, murderous hate from King Saul.
In these moments, David, like the other psalmists we read about, turned a heart-cry to God; often words of despair came up from the wellspring of injustice he faced, but inevitably his heart turned to words of adulation instead. It’s in places like Psalm 9 where we find words that can offer a balm of comfort to our own hearts when we face injustice.
In this life, there will never be absolute justice. Even the best, most well-intentioned human is incapable of such perfect execution of righteous judgement. That’s one reason God warns us to leave repayment in His hands (Rom. 12:19): flawed humans are incapable of meting out the perfect measure of justice that a misdeed is due. Often we want more or less than what’s rightfully owed; and many times even if we get what we think we want, we’re left feeling hollow, like it’s still not enough to satisfy our pain.
During those times, we can take comfort in verses like the one above. What a joy it is to know that justice, our true just cause, is brought about by a righteous judge. Even if we don’t see justice served to absolution in this life, it’s coming! The matter will be settled one day by the hand that formed us, by the most Righteous One of all. He will not overlook the plight of the mistreated; our case and cause is safe in His grasp. We can cry out to Him when foes rise against us, when circumstances seem to stack up to our downfall.
God is a good, righteous, loving, fair and honest Judge. He is the one who placed the yearning for justice in our hearts. When we surrender matters of hurt, offense, and the aches of this life to Him, we can trust that in this life or the one everlasting, we will see proper, precise judgement delivered by the only One to whom ultimate judgement belongs. He is our refuge, our righteous Judge, the One who pleads our cause.
In any plight, no matter how dire, we must turn to Him for justice. For as Psalm 9 goes on to so beautifully say, “Yahweh will also be a high tower for the oppressed person, a high tower in times of trouble.”