When we went to bed on May 6th, 2020, we never imagined that a drunk driver would run into our house, but that’s exactly what happened. Crazy, I know. Want to know the even crazier part? No one in our house woke up. My neighbor’s surveillance video revealed that all five of us slept right through a car ramming into our guest room and sitting with its bumper partway into our house for over two hours. You can imagine my shock and anger when I saw the damage the next day. I wanted justice. I wanted the perpetrator to get caught and held accountable to pay for the damages they’d caused. When we are wronged, we long for justice. We want wrongs to be made right.

What we may not realize is that longing for justice is actually a part of worship. As the Israelite community sojourned to Jerusalem for the Pilgrim Feasts, they sang Psalm 122:5 which reads, “There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David.” These thrones were a comfort to the people of Israel because it meant that their case was going to be heard; that right and wrong would be decided. Some scholars suggest that people might have even waited for their pilgrimage to have their cases tried in Jerusalem.

However, we don’t just long for justice for ourselves personally, it’s something that we long for universally. As God’s people, when we come to worship and lift high the name of Jesus, we call out for justice and we are challenged to reflect on how we might participate with Jesus in doing justice. In fact, God had harsh words for the Israelites when they worshiped God but had no regard for justice. The prophet Isaiah recorded the words of God saying,

15 When you spread out your hands,

    I will hide my eyes from you;

even though you make many prayers,

    I will not listen;

    your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;

    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;

cease to do evil,

17     learn to do good;

seek justice,

    correct oppression;

bring justice to the fatherless,

    plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:15-18)

The longing for and participation with God’s justice is a distinct part of worship.

I’ve realized that when I’m wronged, I long for justice; but I don’t have that same fervent desire for justice when it doesn’t involve me personally. Maybe you’ve sensed the same thing in yourself. However, part of worshipping Jesus is partnering with Him to see His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven – and that requires justice.

Today, take some time and pray for justice. Use Isaiah 1:15-18 as a template and lift your voice to Jesus.

Ryan Paulson
Lead Pastor

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