A verse on Justice: Psalms 89:14

I’ve promised to start posting some scriptures that pertain to Justice. I’ll start off by posting one of my favorites, and one that I think is very thought provoking too.

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness* go before you.

Psalm 89:14, ESV

I like this verse, because I think it gives us a simple, but powerful of understanding who God is and what his character is. Another translation says “Your kingdom is ruled by justice and fairness.” The wording here is beautiful: the very foundation, the bedrock, of who God is and how he rules, is to be understood as a righteous and just God. Studying other religions of the time, one would be hard-pressed to find another god or gods who described themselves this way. Most ancient deities acted on whims, and it would be hard to describe them as just.

We know from the Biblical narrative, however, that God’s justice is not good news for us. All have sinned, and all have fallen short of God’s righteousness. We have “wronged” God and acted unjustly in our relationship with our Maker. We know, however, that is not the end of the story. Though we are powerless to change our standing before God, God in his infinite mercy and grace (or “love and faithfulness” as this translation words it) made a way, and that way was Jesus Christ. Christ showed us grace on the cross by paying or debt. What God’s justice demanded for our punishment, Christ payed.

So I like this verse because I think it encapsulates all of those truths well. The psalmist praises God for his character. Apart from Christ, God’s justice would be a terrifying reality. Because of the work of the cross, God’s justice can be a comforting reality instead. God is not ruled and does not rule by his emotions, but righteousness and justice. Contrast this with many pagan gods in mythology who were ruled by their emotions and whims, and this verse should bring us considerable comfort in the stability. Even the wording–the foundation of his throne–conjures a very secure image.

I hope to rest at His feet.

 

*Some translations say “mercy and truth” rather than “love and faithfulness.” Just an interesting subtlety that I find interesting.

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One thought on “A verse on Justice: Psalms 89:14

  1. James,

    I really like way you used the character of other gods to illuminate this passage. Contrasting other civilizations at the time with the Bible can be a very useful tool. And you are absolutely right when you say that justice is not whimsical. Two of my intellectual heroes (Edmund Burke and F.A. Hayek) spent much of their time writing and arguing against arbitrary rule.

    Kyle

    Like

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