June 6—A Pearl for Today

“You are always righteous, O Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” (Jer. 12:1).

THAT’S NOT FAIR!

Parenting has helped me, in a small way, understand God as our Father. Mothers often hear those immortal words: “MOM, THAT’S NOT FAIR!” And what is our response? Usually it’s, “Life is not fair, honey!” Actually, this is true! Life is not fair here on earth. Unfairness abounds. Because we walk by faith, not by sight, we cannot see the rest of the story. Sometimes we question, wrongly, our heavenly Father’s fairness and justice.

In Jeremiah 12:1, the prophet does not question God’s righteousness, but rather indicates he cannot understand God’s justice. Why do the wicked prosper?

Habakkuk also questions God’s justice, wondering why God uses the unrighteous to punish the righteous. Habakkuk has been told by God that He would use the Chaldeans, Israel’s enemies, to teach the Israelites a lesson they would not otherwise learn. This does not seem fair to the prophet. Habakkuk 1:13: “Thine eyes are too pure to approve evil” (NASB). He does not question God’s righteousness, just His justice. Later in this same verse Habakkuk continues, “Why art Thou silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than they?” (NASB) Habakkuk reminds us in the next chapter of his book that the righteous must live by faith, not by sight.

Asaph, in Psalm 73, also struggles with the justice of God. Psalm 73:2-3: “But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling; My steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant, as I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (NASB). He continues in Psalm 73 with a litany of items that seem to show God favors the wicked and does not bring about justice. Psalm 73:16 “When I pondered to understand this, It was troublesome in my SIGHT” (NASB). Here Asaph is walking by sight not by faith, yet we see in the next verse his response by faith. Psalm 73:17: “UNTIL I came into the sanctuary of God; Then I perceived their end” (NASB). In other words Asaph has learned, in the sanctuary, that today is not the end of the story. God’s justice will prevail. There will be an “end” to the wicked.

Some of the hardest—and best—lessons we will ever learn will come from the hands of people who hate us or who do not want our best. What they mean for evil, God will use for good.

We want justice from God when it concerns other people. We plead the mercy of God when it concerns ourselves.

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