The AMI QT Devotionals from December 25-31 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Esther.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
“Dealing with Injustice”
Genesis 31:4-7 (ESV)
So Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah into the field where his flock was5 and said to them, “I see that your father does not regard me with favor as he did before. But the God of my father has been with me. 6 You know that I have served your father with all my strength, 7 yet your father has cheated me and changed my wages ten times. But God did not permit him to harm me.
When I was a kid, I would throw temper tantrums if I felt like I was being mistreated. Once, some family friends were over and we were playing video games. It was my turn to play, but my friend would not give up the controller. Feeling slighted, I could not let this injustice to continue unaddressed. So I ended up wrestling with him and eventually biting him because he wouldn’t let go of the controller. Today, I am proud to say I handle any injustice committed against me in a much milder manner.
How do you deal with injustice that you feel was committed against you? In Genesis 31, we see that Jacob has come to a place where he is fed up with his father-in-law who has deceived him in so many different ways. And now Jacob feels the rising hostility of Laban and his sons against him because his flock is doing much better than theirs.
Although this passage is not meant to be a prescriptive one, (meaning it is not meant to be a passage teaching us how we ought to react to injustices), it does tell a story of injustice that was unfolding between Jacob and Laban. Jacob ends up taking his household and all of his flock and leaving town. He does not retaliate or lash out in revenge, but trusts that God has protected him and his household all this time. He trusts that God is the ultimate judge.
Perhaps you have a boss that has been unfair to you, or a professor that seems to grade in an unfair manner. Maybe you have friends or family members who continue to deceive you and treat you horribly. Or maybe you are sick of the great injustices of this world. So how do you react to injustice? Again, this is not a prescriptive passage, but it is helpful for us to consider how we react towards injustices. Do we feel the need to retaliate? Do we feel the need to stay silent? I do believe that different injustices require different responses. Sometimes we do need to speak out and act out against injustice, and other times we need to hold our tongues. However, the truth of this passage is that God sees everything. He will be the final judge, and we can take solace in the fact that His justice is perfect.
In light of this Christmas season, we look to Jesus – who endured the ultimate injustice without retaliation. Isaiah 53:7 says, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”
Prayer: Father God, we recognize and repent for the way our sin has created so many injustices in this world. We repent because we are complicit and implicit offenders of your perfect justice. Particularly in areas where we feel the brunt of injustice, give us the grace and humility to respond like you would. But ultimately, we ask that you give us peace and trust in your perfect justice. May the fullness of your kingdom come quickly! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 8 and Luke 2
Lunch Break Study
Read Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV): For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Question to Consider
- Who is this child that Isaiah the prophet is talking about?
- What does this passage say about what His reign will be like?
- Reflect on what these names mean to you: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
- In light of Christmas, this is a popular passage that reminds us that the prophets were looking to the Son of God who was born into this world – Jesus Christ, who has come to establish His perfect government.
- We see that there will be no end to his reign. It will be full of peace, and His perfect justice and His perfect righteousness will be the bedrock of this government.
- Personal Reflection.
Did you struggle with injustice that was committed against you or against others? Bring these things to the Lord in prayer and reflect upon them. How has God called you to respond to injustice and be the one who represents His justice in this world?