Devotional Thoughts for Today
“The Fairness of God”
“Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the Lord a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them. 13 Each one who crosses over to those already counted is to give a half shekel, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. This half shekel is an offering to the Lord. 14 All who cross over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord. 15 The rich are not to give more than a half shekel and the poor are not to give less when you make the offering to the Lord to atone for your lives. 16 Receive the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will be a memorial for the Israelites before the Lord, making atonement for your lives.”
Serving at a church with about 100 children, I’ve noticed a common behavior in all children – an innate need for fairness. Whether the fairness is exhibited by something as simple as getting the same number of gummy bears during snack time to something as big as getting treated equally as their peers, I’ve noticed that all children want equal treatment. Any behavior that falls outside of this standard will usually be proceeded by a loud, “That’s not fair!” At the heart of it, however, I recognize that these are the beginning seeds of justice. We know that God is a just God, and if we are created in His image, then, all humans have some degree of desire to see justice in the world.
In today’s passage, we see for the first time in Israel’s history a census taking place. During the census, God tells Moses that all who are counted must pay a ransom for their life. However, Moses says that the rich must not give more than half a shekel and the poor must not give less than half a shekel (v.15). In other words, God requires all to pay an equal amount regardless of their socioeconomic status. “How is that fair?” you might wonder. Why does the rich who live in abundance need to pay the same amount as the poor who are lacking and in need? We certainly see this discussion constantly occurring in politics. Well, it might surprise you to know that God does this precisely because He is a just and fair God.
Wealth and status did not matter in the eyes of God when he looked at each individual. He required all to give the same amount because He see us equally – equally loved and equally in need of grace. God’s desire was to restore all His people to right standing with Him and this meant everyone needed their sins atoned for. Thus, all were required to give equally to the priest what was needed for their sins to be made right. God sees all souls equally precious and there is no outward circumstance that can affect the state of our souls—as Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Let’s take some time today to reflect on whether we are living a life that seeks justice through worldly fairness or justice in the eyes of God. Are you frustrated or grumbling about something of outward significance or are you fighting for the justice of people’s lives and souls? True equality is when we see all of God’s people under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Prayer: God, I thank You that You do not look at merit or status, but You see us all equally. Break my heart for what breaks Yours. And help me to fight for the things that lead people to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen
Bible Reading for Today: 1 Samuel 13
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 7:1-6: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”
Questions to Consider
- What does Jesus warn the people against?
- Why does Jesus give this warning?
- Jesus did not prohibit judgment, but he required fair judgment (Jn. 7:24)– that we would judge others by the same standard we judge ourselves. Are there people or situations in your life where you are setting different standards than the ones you are living by?
- Jesus tells the people not to judge
- Jesus warns the people against passing judgment because when we do so we will be judged in a similar manner.
Take some time to reflect on your day. Did you encounter any unfairness or injustices throughout the day? How did you respond? Also, did you pass any unfair judgments on others? Take some time in repentance and ask the Lord to help you see people the way God sees them and to respond to people the way Jesus would respond to them.