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Justice

Want to be encouraged? Think of it, when Christ returns, he will bring justice to the earth. No more big business manipulating corrupt government. No more oppression of the weak. No more games, manipulation, deception, or spin.

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We’re recording for LifeResource Ministries today and this presentation is the tenth in a series on True Spirituality – the things that are important to God. Our subject today is Justice.

Here we are again, on the Feast of Trumpets – a day that celebrates, in advance, the return of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His kingdom and His family on the earth, a day that represents that first great resurrection in the plan of God. Some people, who don’t keep the holy days, might ask, “What do you mean – the first great resurrection?” I said that because in Revelation 20, and verse 6, it says, Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. So, if there is a first one, there will be at least one more. So, in differentiating which one we’re talking about it, we’re talking about the first one. Right?

So, going on, through the years, I’ve always struggled to make the meaning of the holy days relevant to our lives in addition to explaining what it means. I was just recently talking to a younger friend and he had attended a wedding. There were all the other young adults that he’d grown up with at that wedding – the same ones he sees at church every week. After the wedding they had a dinner, where the majority of the people there got drunk. He was, I think, somewhat disconcerted. Some of the young adults that he knows, including himself, will very soon become the middle generation of the church. He was sensing that he was not on the same page with them spiritually and was disconcerted, as I said. I think he felt worried for his friends – and maybe a little bit like they got to party and he didn’t get to anymore. At the same time, I think he also felt isolated from them. He’s sensing a difference in outlook. We were talking about this, and he was processing his experience, and he was trying to make sense out of all of it – how should he think about it? Now, that’s a real-life scenario, isn’t it? What do you do in the face of bad behavior? How do you react to it? What do you think about it?

Did you know that this day – the Day of Trumpets – is the day that shows us how to think about the issues of salvation and of sanctification, and about faith in Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, and about the mercy, judgment and justice of God?

Let’s go to 1 Corinthians 15. What chapter is this? The resurrection chapter – what do you know? And which resurrection would that be? The first – yes, thank you. Verse 1.

1 Cor. 15:1 – This is Paul talking to the brethren in Corinth, and he says, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received in which you stand, by which also you are saved if you hold fast that word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

V-3 – He said, verse 3, For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received. Then there’s a colon, and now he’s going to tell what the gospel is. …that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve, and after that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once. Why is that important? Well, they were all witnesses that He was resurrected! That’s why it’s important. …of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. It’s been a few years since that happened.

V-7 – After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. And then, last of all, He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. He wasn’t one of the original apostles, was he? He was busy persecuting the church and was struck down on Damascus Road . He had to see Jesus in His resurrected form. He tells about that in Galatians.

V-9 – He said, For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the Church of God . But by the grace of God, I am what I am. His grace toward me was not in vain, but I labored more abundantly than they all – yet not I, but the grace of God which was in me. He was motivated and empowered – and not by his own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit – compelled by the forgiveness that he was given to labor for God.

V-11 – Therefore, verse 11, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. It doesn’t matter who came to you and told you the message, you got it. Now if Christ is preached – that He has been raised from the dead – how do some among you say, “There is no resurrection of the dead?” That was an issue for some people back then – one of the sects of the Jews did not believe in a resurrection. But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. So he’s going to take us through a logical discussion of this event seen by all the apostles and five hundred people at one time. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. How we live our lives, how we behave at weddings, and how we behave every day has everything to do with the meaning of this day.

V-15 – He says, Yes, we are found false witnesses of God – we’re in verse 15 now – because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up if, in fact, the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen, and if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins. Then also, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. And if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiable. It’s all about living forever. And if Christ didn’t come up out of the grave to be the firstborn, then we aren’t either. So all the things that we’re doing is all just for the benefits that we accrue from obeying God in this life. And that’s not really what it’s all about, is it?

V-20 – But now Christ is risen from the dead and is become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die. Even so, in Christ all shall be made alive. It’s a beautiful picture, isn’t it? …each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterwards those who are Christ’s at His coming. So that tells us when the first resurrection is, doesn’t it? It’s at His coming.

V-24 – Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule, and all authority and power. Because he’s talking about human authority and human rule, he’s also talking about an end to injustice, isn’t he? For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says that all things are put under Him, it is evident that He who put all things under Him is accepted. Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subject to Him who put all things under Him – that God made be all in all. So Christ is going to rule on the earth until every enemy is vanquished and everything is subject to Him. Then He’s going to turn all over to God the Father.

V-29 – Then he says, Otherwise, what will they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise at all? That was another practice they had back then. Some people were being baptized for people who were already dead. So, why then are they baptized for the dead, and why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? I affirm by the boasting in you, which I have in Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus , what advantage is it to me? “If we’re just living this physical life, what does it gain that I was thrown to the lions in Ephesus and survived? I’m just going to die later anyway.” …if the dead do not rise? Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. That’s all it would really be about, wouldn’t it? Just having a good time.

V-33 – Then he says, Do not be deceived. Evil company corrupts good habits. If you hang out with the “let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” crowd, you’re in a bad place. You know all those people that got drunk at that wedding? I was talking to my friend about this and he was concerned. And I said, “What you need to remember is, those folks have not yet made a commitment to Jesus Christ. Because people who have, do not get drunk in public. They don’t get drunk at all! They might have an accident once in awhile, but when that many people get drunk all at the same time in the same place, that’s an intention.” So you are never going to find satisfying fellowship with people like that until they are on the same page with you – committed to God. So we talked about finding the people who value what he values. I suggested that he should just let his old friends work it out with God, just like he had to – and just like you and I have had to. And interestingly enough, Paul says, Awake to righteousness and do not sin, for some do not have the knowledge of God. That’s just what we said, isn’t it? That’s exactly where we are. We need to be sensitive to righteousness and not to sin, and realize that some people just don’t have the knowledge of God. They haven’t made that commitment.

Let’s jump down to verse 40.

V-40 – He says, There are celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies, but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another of the moon, another of the stars: one star differs from another in brightness. So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, and it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, and it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, and it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, and it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being. The last man Adam became a life-giving spirit.” However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural. And then afterward the spiritual. The first man was of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust. And as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are heavenly. As we have born the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly man. Pretty clear, isn’t it, what kind of body we’re going to have when that resurrection occurs.

V-50 – Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does corruption inherit incorruption. I was explaining to my friend, “You know, you really don’t need to worry about what all those people are doing.” I said, “Have you ever seen an hourglass? You know, it’s big on top and then it necks down, then it gets wide at the bottom? Two big spaces – one up above, and one down below – with this little tiny neck in between them? The top thing you can compare to this life – lots of room to maneuver around up there, right? We can decide all kinds of things for ourselves. We can do all kinds of things. It’s up to us. Then, down below is eternal life. That’s really big, too. That’s going to be a lot bigger than the top part for us. And in between is that resurrection. And while we’re up on top, we can do all the things we want to do. We can get drunk. We can lie. We can steal. We can fornicate. We can mistreat people. We can do all kinds of things that are bad. We can do things that are good. But if we want to go from the top to the bottom – if we want to live forever – we have to first go through that little tiny place. And there is no other way to get from the top to the bottom, except through that – one grain at a time!”

What is that little place? That little place is Jesus Christ with His resurrection and His just judgment. His is the only name under heaven by which we may be saved. Jesus is a bit like a bouncer for the kingdom. He stands at the door, and He checks the IDs. And He tells us that no drunkard, no liar, no sexually immoral person will be allowed to pass through the door into the eternal family and kingdom of God. That’s how it is.

V-51 – Behold I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all – that is, all those who have repented, and have been forgiven, and have been sanctified – we shall all be changed – in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. He says that the only way we can enter in is to seek forgiveness for our sins, and submit ourselves to the process of sanctification, and all the misbehavior has to get left behind.

V-54 – So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O hades, where is your victory?” The sting of death is sin. The strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not something we have to do on our own, but it does have to get done.

V-58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

I told my young friend he didn’t have to fret about his friends, and that his efforts to live Godly were going to bear fruit. God is going to work with his friends, just like He has worked with him.

Now there’s something else that we can think about on this day. We know that Jesus is the judge of all and that He is a just judge – that He’s fair. We are told that we must also learn to do justly. So sanctification is not simply a matter of leaving misbehavior behind. It’s also a matter of learning things that we must bring with us.

Let’s go to Matthew 23:23 and look at one of the things that Jesus told the Pharisees that they should have learned.

Mt. 23:23 – Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law – justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. That word that is translated justice is translated judgment in other translations. The word is krisis in the Greek. And according to Vine’s that word denotes “the process of investigation; the act of distinguishing and separating.” See, that’s what my friend was doing. He was thinking about how he behaved at the wedding and how his friends behaved. And he’s kind of comparing and thinking about what all that means. In continuing on, it says that “this word has a variety of meanings, such as judicial authority, or justice, as in a tribunal, a judgment, or the standard of judgment, or just dealing.” Being fair! That’s what it means, according to Vine’s. When you think about that definition of just dealing, what He was saying to the Pharisees is, that when they had neglected justice, He was telling them that they had not concentrated on bringing the justice of God into their lives. And He said that that was one of the weightier matters of the law. The word for weighty literally means heavier. Guess how the Lonida Lexicon translates it? I was very happy when I read this. It says, “The word means important.” And in this series we’ve concentrated on the things that God tells us are important, haven’t we? That’s what the theme of it has been – not the stuff that we think is important, but the things that God thinks are important. And justice is one of those – and specifically, in this context – He was talking about personal justice – in being a fair person.

Now, in studying this subject, several things have jumped out at me that I never really associated with justice before, yet they obviously are. There were certain themes that kept coming up when I read through the scriptures that pertain to it.

The first theme that I want to talk about is the fact that – and this is just so fair, isn’t it – that we are responsible for our own actions, and not for the actions of others. Isn’t that such a good thing? Now some people don’t like that at all. They want other people to be responsible for their actions. But we get to be responsible for our own actions. We can decide whether we want to surrender our lives to God or not.

Let’s go to Deuteronomy 24:16.

Dt. 24:16 – Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor shall the children be put to death for their fathers. A person shall be put to death for his own sin. There are times when parents are responsible for what their kids do. That’s when they are very little. But as children get older, they become more and more responsible for what they do, because they more and more take control of their own lives.

Jer. 31:29 – This is a really interesting proverb. Jeremiah said, In those days they shall say no more – and this is a prophecy about the Kingdom – the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. What does that mean? Well, that means that your father’s responsible for how you feel. You eat sour grapes and it sets the kids’ teeth on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity. Every man that eats sour grapes, his teeth shall be set on edge. You know, today, we’re still like that, but it’s really fashionable to blame our parents for our problems. I think pop psychology is a lot at fault for that. A lot of these guys that write books want to make money, and they know that people love to blame other people for their problems, so they write books about how our parents made us the way we are. Well, the way we were raised can explain why we act as we do, but that is never an excuse for bad behavior.

People often explain away child abuse by saying they were abused as children. And it is true that most abusers were also abused, but there are lots of people who were abused as children who find a way to live without hurting other people. And as an adult, that is how you will be judged – not so much by what happened to you. Like my young friend doesn’t need to worry about his friends. He just needs to make sure that he walks that walk himself. God will take care of him, and He’ll take care of them. He’ll be fair to everybody. He’s going to be really fair about it. He’s going to give us all plenty of time and chances to repent. He’s going to teach us all exactly what the rules are, so that when we get to that little narrow neck, we won’t have any surprises. We’ll all know what the rules were going in. We’re all going to have plenty of time and chances to repent, to turn to Christ, and to give up our bad habits and our bad behavior. Then God, if we do that, is going to forgive our sins, and He’s going to put us through a process that is going to clean us up so that we can make it through that little narrow place. And if some of us refuse, well, He’s going to be fair about that, too, isn’t He? He’s going to stick to what He said in the beginning. Some people aren’t going to be there. Very few, but some won’t.

The second thing that jumped out at me – and I couldn’t think of any other way to say this – is that God wants us to be fair and balanced. (All of you people who don’t have cable don’t know what that means. That’s what Fox News says that they are – fair and balanced. It’s probably an intention, or perhaps a wish, that Fox News could be fair and balanced, but that’s what God is and that’s what He wants of us.)

Lev. 19:35 – You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length…. Don’t sell that gallon of gas…don’t ratchet that thing back so that it gives out ninety-nine percent of a gallon and charge people for the full gallon. You shall do no injustice in judgment, in measurement of length, weight or volume. You shall have honest scales, honest weights, honest ephah and honest hin. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. That’s who’s talking to you. So He wants the scales to be balanced. And He wants everything to be fair.

Ex. 23:1 – You shall not circulate a false report. Have you ever had people talk about you behind your back and not have the facts straight? Say something bad about you? You know, once something like that gets started, there isn’t really anything that you can do to combat it. If somebody accuses you of something, nobody that hears that accusation was there to see whether it happened or not. They’re taking the word of the person that accused, or they’re taking your word, but they’ll never really know. That’s not fair. Now, if somebody is a witness, and they saw what happened, then that’s a whole different ball game. But a lot of us…we hear stuff about people, and we repeat it, and we don’t know really whether it’s true or not. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

There’s just something about the way humans work. We’re so social. We work in groups. We tend to think the same things that people around us think. And if one person is really angry with somebody, pretty soon there’ll be several people that are really angry with that person, even though the person didn’t do anything bad to them. So we might hear bad things about people, but our job, if we don’t actually know what happened, is to…. If it’s important to us, we might want to investigate – try to find out. But most of the time we hear things and we should just leave it go.

I saw this thing on the back of a car – you know how people take white shoe polish and they write on their car, “For Sale,” or whatever. This guy wrote on the back of his car, “Clinton was a slime-wad, and Bush is a liar and a coward. When are we ever going to elect somebody we’re proud of?” Well, I heard all of the accusations. And I heard Clinton admit to what he had done. I haven’t heard Bush admit to the accusations, but there’s so much propaganda and lies out there, if you’re not right on top of it, it’s really hard to know. So, do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness.

V-2 – You shall not follow a crowd to do evil. Nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after many to pervert justice. You shall not show partiality to a poor man in his dispute. We always see the scriptures where God tells us not to favor the rich, but we’re not supposed to favor the poor either. We’re supposed to be fair and balanced – treat everybody the same.

Ezk. 18:25 – Yet you say, “The way of the LORD is not fair.” Hear now, O house of Israel, is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair? We’re told that the judgment pictured by this day – or at the judgment pictured by this day – that there’s going to be a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth. And some people are going to be saying, “It’s not fair.” And some people are going to be saying, “You didn’t tell me. I didn’t know.” And some people are going to try to say, “I’ll repent now, if you’ll just let me in.” But the fact is – verse 26 – When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and dies in it, it is because of the iniquity which he has done that he dies. And again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he committed, and does what is lawful and right, he preserves himself alive. Because he considers and turns away from all the transgressions which he committed, he shall surely live, and he shall not die. So our fate is in our own hands. It’s not in the hands of anyone else. And isn’t that just so fair? Isn’t that so good? We’re not supposed to have any double standards. We’re supposed to treat everybody the same and to be fair with people.

The third thing that really jumps off the page at me is charity – taking care of other people. We often don’t think of charity as justice, but it turns out that it is.

Dt. 10:17 – For the LORD your God is the God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe.

V-18 – Notice what it says here. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. He connects taking care of the poor, and the fatherless, and people who are from other countries and at a disadvantage. He considers it just to take care of those people. That’s part of what justice is.

Let’s go to 2 Samuel 8, verse 15. We’ve often wondered why David was a man after God’s own heart, because he killed a lot of people, was very deceitful and manipulative at times. He had his share of problems. He wasn’t a very good parent, that’s for sure. And he didn’t have just one wife. I mean, you can just go on and on about all the bad stuff he did. But it says in 2 Samuel 8 and verse 15:

2 Sam. 8:15 – David reigned over all Israel, and David executed judgment and justice unto all his people. So he was fair with people. He didn’t favor the rich. And he didn’t favor the poor. He was fair to everybody. So maybe that’s why he was a man after God’s own heart.

Turn with me now to Luke 3, and verse 2. This is powerful for us in the New Testament.

Lk. 3:2 – It says, When Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. And he went into all the region around Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. As it is written in the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.’ Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low. The crooked places shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth. And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” And then he said to the multitudes that came to be baptized, “Brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” John was not exactly a PR kind of guy, was he? Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. And so the people who were counting on the fact that they were Jews said, “Well, what shall we do then?” Now let’s listen very closely to what he said we should do. He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics – Do you have two coats? Do you? Do you have two coats? – let him give to him who has none. And he who has food, let him do likewise. And then the tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what should we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed to you.” Don’t rip people off. And likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “What shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not intimidate anybody, or falsely accuse.” Don’t bully people around just because you are armed and have authority. And be content with your wages. What does being content with your wages have to do with justice? It goes back to being fair and balanced. We’ve heard that parable about the landowner who agreed with people to start working at six in the morning, and he was going to pay them a dinari a day. Then some more people came at nine, and he offered them the same amount. Then at noon, and then at three. The people that started at six…when they found out the ones that started at three got the same thing, they beefed about it. And what was his answer? “Well, didn’t you agree to work for that amount of money? You and I have a deal. It doesn’t include this guy over here that came later. That’s my business.”

You know, a lady came to me some years ago. She was complaining bitterly about her husband – about what a lout he was. It was all his fault that they were getting a divorce. And why was God so mean to her to give her such a terrible husband? I asked her a question – and she never forgave me for it. I asked her if she said, “I do,” at the wedding? She understood what I meant. She knew that she didn’t have to marry him. It was her choice. She just didn’t know what he was. She didn’t take the time to really get to know him. But that truth didn’t fit with her scenario of what a good person she was, and how responsible somebody else was for her poor quality of life.

Lev. 9:13 – Moving on to this charity thing…. You shall not cheat your neighbor nor rob him. The wages of him who was hired shall not remain with you all night until morning. Back then, some people were so poor, if you didn’t pay them that day, they wouldn’t have anything to eat. I guess it’s still that way for some folks, isn’t it? Some people need to be paid weekly, or even daily, I guess. And our responsibility to be fair is take care of them as best we can. They’ve earned the money, and they need it. Let’s give it to them.

Dt. 24:17 – You shall not pervert justice due to the stranger or the fatherless, nor take a widow’s garment as a pledge. Why shouldn’t you take a widow’s garment as a down payment for something? Because she might not have a coat to wear when you do that. But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. Therefore I command you to do this thing. When you reap your harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be left for the stranger, the fatherless, the widow – that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand. They had a really good system back then, because if you were so lazy that you wouldn’t go out in the field to get it, then you could be hungry. But if you were enterprising enough to get up and go out, everybody was commanded not to pick every last grape off the vine, or every last bean in the field, and there would be food there.

V-20 – When you beat your olive trees, verse 20, you shall not go over the boughs again. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless and the widow. And when you gather the grapes, you shall not glean it afterwards. It shall be for the stranger, the fatherless and the widow.

And the final thing that I want to mention…. So there’s the charity thing – taking care of other people. That’s what’s fair and right. Some people are not going to be able to make it on their own. That’s most of us at some time in life. We all need help sometime. We need to be able to help other people. And be glad that we’re able to help, instead of being the one needing it.

The last one has to do with what I’ll just call “the golden rule.” We’ve seen this already, but I haven’t pointed it out, in Exodus 23, verse 4.

Ex. 23:4 – If you meet your enemy’s ox, or his donkey, going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him again.

I heard a story once when I lived in Pennsylvania. The highway patrol in Pennsylvania back in those years was dreaded, because the speed limit was fifty-five, and they allowed nothing over. And they gave a lot of tickets to a lot of people. Well, this trooper was driving down a road one day, and he saw this guy standing out in a field with a shotgun by a mule. He got out of this car and walked out in the field, and asked the guy what was going on. He said, “Ah, this mule is sick, and I need to put it out of its misery. But it’s been around so long, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Would you do it for me?” So the trooper pulled out his service revolver and he shot the mule in the head. (This was told to me for truth, too.) It turned out that that guy was angry with his neighbor, and he was planning to shoot his mule, but he got the trooper to do it instead. Big problem. So that’s kind of the opposite to what we’re being taught here, right? If you meet your enemy’s ox, or his donkey, going astry, you shall surely bring it back to him. If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under his burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.

Why should we do this? If somebody hates us, why should we help them? It’s because if our donkey got down under a load, or our ox got away, we would want somebody to bring it back to us. And the law says that we should do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

V-9 – Also, you shall not oppress a stranger, verse 9, for you know the heart of a stranger, because you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You know what it’s like to be oppressed in a strange land, so exercise your sense of empathy to know how to apply the golden rule to people. Would you like people to believe what others have said about you without checking in with you? No. So don’t talk about the motives of people behind their back. Let them speak for themselves. If you were under a freeway bridge, sleeping under cardboard, and it was thirty degrees out, would you want somebody to give you a coat? So if you see somebody under a bridge, and there’s something you can do to help – you’ve got a blanket in the back of your car – give it to them.

So those are the four things that jumped off the page at me when I started to study about what justice is. There are many other things that we know all about, so I left those off and went for the things that were new to me.

So this is the day of the Feast of Trumpets and it pictures, in the New Testament, the return of Jesus Christ. He’s going to come to administer justice on the earth at last. And we will be there to help Him – if we can make it through that narrow little place. But we must also first learn to administer justice in our own lives. And we can do that by being responsible for ourselves and not laying our faults off on others, or making excuses. We can be fair and balanced. What’s good for the goose happens, also, to be good for the gander – no double standards. We can take care of those people who are less fortunate. And that will be counted as justice for us. And we can do it because we would want other people to take care of us if we were to suffer misfortune. And as we focus on these things in our lives, it’s nice to know that we’re focusing on one aspect of what Jesus tells us is truly important to God.