Proverbs 29:26

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by: FCC Staff

09/29/2021

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“Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.”  Proverbs 29:26

Think about your favorite snack food - a certain type of chip, candy bar, soda, ice cream or whatever that you eat as a ‘guilty indulgence’. We all have them. You’re at the store and want to stock up on your favorite treat, but to your horror they are out. So, in a moment of weakness you grab the generic or off brand version. We all know how that ends – with a bit of disappointment. Sure, there are some similarities in taste and texture, but the substitute never measures up to the real thing.

There are some parallels with that experience and our Proverb for today. The longing, the desire, the thing sought after in the parable is justice, and just like our favorite snack, there is the real thing, and there is a counterfeit that doesn’t quite measure up.

I don’t mean to suggest that people are completely incapable of demonstrating or administering justice, because they are and history bears this out. Solomon, the one who wrote this Proverb, is a good example. I Kings 10:23-24 tells us that “King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom…” We know from the accounts of Solomon’s reign that the wisdom was needed at times to perform the role of judge for the people. Deciding cases, settling disputes and administering justice were part of his job description. And before Israel had kings, God used a series of judges to administer justice among the people.

So yes, it is possible for a man to speak a wise word of justice, or to demonstrate justice…but only as God enables. The end of verse 24 of that I Kings passage says it plainly: “…which God had put into his mind.” The only way Solomon, or any of us, can speak of justice or act out justice in this world is because we have learned about the justice of God and have been enabled by Him to be an agent of justice in this world.

Isaiah 30:18 identifies God as ‘Elohim Mishpat’ – Hebrew for ‘God of Justice.’ And in Psalm 89:14 we learn that ‘Righteousness and justice’ are the foundations of God’s throne. These verses let us know that justice is the very nature of God, not an afterthought. With this in mind, of course it makes sense that any justice that we might expect or even receive from man is at best incomplete and at worst a complete counterfeit.

There are many reminders of this in the Bible.  As the Israelites were being chased by Pharaoh’s men as they fled Egypt, they looked back with fear and grumbled against Moses for bringing them out of Egypt only to be left for dead in the wilderness.  Moses encouraged them to “…Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14) This was a kind way of saying ‘shut up and watch’.   We know the rest of the story – God parted the sea and they made it through but Pharaoh’s men did not.  God’s justice.

We get a similar lesson in 2 Chronicles when God’s people found themselves in yet another tight spot and needed God to judge in their favor. Surrounded by enemies they cried out, “O, our God, will you not execute judgment on them?”  God answered through one of His servants “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed…the battle is not yours but God’s.”   (2 Chronicles 20:12-15)

The examples of justice involving human judges that we see around us every day are not bad. But we should remember that relying on human justice from a judge, a ruler, a lawyer, or anyone else is a risky endeavor because justice from these people is limited to the laws or rules of the land that we happen to inhabit. Only Elohim Mishpat can completely and justly rule in our favor for this life and for eternity.  

This is a lesson David had learned throughout his life - “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9)

Prayer for Today Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself to us as the God of Justice.  Help me to remember that today and throughout the week when the situations of life feel like they are surrounding me on all sides. May I turn any help I receive from you into opportunities to tell others of your perfect justice.

“Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice.”  Proverbs 29:26

Think about your favorite snack food - a certain type of chip, candy bar, soda, ice cream or whatever that you eat as a ‘guilty indulgence’. We all have them. You’re at the store and want to stock up on your favorite treat, but to your horror they are out. So, in a moment of weakness you grab the generic or off brand version. We all know how that ends – with a bit of disappointment. Sure, there are some similarities in taste and texture, but the substitute never measures up to the real thing.

There are some parallels with that experience and our Proverb for today. The longing, the desire, the thing sought after in the parable is justice, and just like our favorite snack, there is the real thing, and there is a counterfeit that doesn’t quite measure up.

I don’t mean to suggest that people are completely incapable of demonstrating or administering justice, because they are and history bears this out. Solomon, the one who wrote this Proverb, is a good example. I Kings 10:23-24 tells us that “King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and wisdom. And the whole earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom…” We know from the accounts of Solomon’s reign that the wisdom was needed at times to perform the role of judge for the people. Deciding cases, settling disputes and administering justice were part of his job description. And before Israel had kings, God used a series of judges to administer justice among the people.

So yes, it is possible for a man to speak a wise word of justice, or to demonstrate justice…but only as God enables. The end of verse 24 of that I Kings passage says it plainly: “…which God had put into his mind.” The only way Solomon, or any of us, can speak of justice or act out justice in this world is because we have learned about the justice of God and have been enabled by Him to be an agent of justice in this world.

Isaiah 30:18 identifies God as ‘Elohim Mishpat’ – Hebrew for ‘God of Justice.’ And in Psalm 89:14 we learn that ‘Righteousness and justice’ are the foundations of God’s throne. These verses let us know that justice is the very nature of God, not an afterthought. With this in mind, of course it makes sense that any justice that we might expect or even receive from man is at best incomplete and at worst a complete counterfeit.

There are many reminders of this in the Bible.  As the Israelites were being chased by Pharaoh’s men as they fled Egypt, they looked back with fear and grumbled against Moses for bringing them out of Egypt only to be left for dead in the wilderness.  Moses encouraged them to “…Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14) This was a kind way of saying ‘shut up and watch’.   We know the rest of the story – God parted the sea and they made it through but Pharaoh’s men did not.  God’s justice.

We get a similar lesson in 2 Chronicles when God’s people found themselves in yet another tight spot and needed God to judge in their favor. Surrounded by enemies they cried out, “O, our God, will you not execute judgment on them?”  God answered through one of His servants “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed…the battle is not yours but God’s.”   (2 Chronicles 20:12-15)

The examples of justice involving human judges that we see around us every day are not bad. But we should remember that relying on human justice from a judge, a ruler, a lawyer, or anyone else is a risky endeavor because justice from these people is limited to the laws or rules of the land that we happen to inhabit. Only Elohim Mishpat can completely and justly rule in our favor for this life and for eternity.  

This is a lesson David had learned throughout his life - “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9)

Prayer for Today Heavenly Father, thank you for revealing yourself to us as the God of Justice.  Help me to remember that today and throughout the week when the situations of life feel like they are surrounding me on all sides. May I turn any help I receive from you into opportunities to tell others of your perfect justice.

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