March 20, Friday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional, prepared by then-staff of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, was first posted on July 10, 2013.

 

Devotional Thought for This Morning

“God of Justice”

Psalms 75:1-5

We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds. 2 You say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge with equity. 3 When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm. 4 To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. 5 Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly.’”

How would you describe your best friend to another person?  Perhaps you would use words like thoughtful, kind, funny, or intelligent; but the odds are, “just” is not the word that will first come to mind.  While we tend to devalue the quality of justice over grace and mercy in others and in God, Psalm 75 puts God’s justice at the center.

The psalmist praises God for being…judge?  He knows His nearness through His steadfast…equity?  The psalmist witnesses God’s wonderful deeds of…judgment upon the wicked?  

In the West, we struggle with the idea of a just God.  Perhaps, it’s because we don’t suffer much. For victims of random violence in Over-the-Rhine, justice matters.  For believers in China suffering persecution, justice matters. For sex slaves in Southeast Asia, justice matters.  Some may be raising that question right now considering the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic that has already killed thousands of ordinary people. Where is God’s fairness in all this?  

But, be sure that our God will do right.  There will be a day when He will wipe away every tear from our eyes and He will destroy sin and death.  Praise God!

Meditate upon the goodness of God’s justice.  Ask God to give you a heart that loves and delights in the good and absolutely hating sin and evil.

Prayer: God, You are good in all Your ways and Your justice is magnificent.  I thank You that You are not indifferent to sin and death, but You hate them with all of Your being.  Thank You for defeating sin by the death and resurrection of Your Son. Lord, change my heart that I may no longer delight in evil but love what is good.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 52


Lunch Break Study 

Read James 2:1-4 (NIV): My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 

Questions to Consider

  1.  What strong warning does James give to the believers?
  2. How was the church displaying favoritism?
  3. How do the warnings that James gives against favoritism lead you towards a good, discerning spirit?

Notes

  1. Believers are NOT to show favoritism, especially because of financial differences. If the church accepted and responded to people based upon their economic differences, they would be showing favoritism. What is more, they would have become “judges with evil thoughts.” The church that claims the glorious Jesus Christ as its Lord would have become an unjust, partial judge!
  2. Imagine this scenario: James’ readers have come together for their church service. On this particular day, there are two visitors. The first is obviously a very rich man; James calls him a ‘gold-fingered’ man in gleaming apparel. The other man is nothing like this at all. He is dressed in shabby clothes- grimy and tattered. But the people of the church take scant notice of the second man because they are so enamored with the first thinking, “Just think of what he could do to advance the church if he were to join!” They make sure that he has the best seat in the house.  But as to the poor man, any place is good enough for him. It is embarrassing to them that he should decide to show up on the very same day as the rich visitor.
  3. There is certainly nothing wrong with a man being rich or with making him feel

welcomed in church, but the problem lies in treating him differently from the poor man. In so doing, the members of the church are acting as judges with “evil thoughts” (v. 4). They are acting on the basis of wrong standards.


Evening Reflection

Spend some time tonight thinking about those around you who still need to be saved. Pray for their salvation. 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I admit that I categorize people according to wealth, talents, looks, etc. Help me to display the true character of God who accepts and loves all and is no respecter of man. Amen.

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