Reflections: February 12, 2021
Friday of Sexagesima
By Jacob Ehrhard
Does God pervert justice? (Job 8:3a)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Lady Justice stands before the courthouse blindfolded, holding a sword in one hand and a balanced pair of scales in the other. Justice is blind, the statue proclaims--she does not take appearances into account. Justice is fair. For every good there is a reward. For every crime there is a punishment. And she does not bear the sword for nothing.
By all appearances, Job was suffering under God's justice. He was a righteous man, yet he had lost everything. Trying to make sense of it all with his friends, one of them, Bildad, asks Job if God perverts justice. There must be some secret, hidden sin that Job hasn't revealed for God to be punishing him and his family so much. The solution? Repent and start to put some good works on the other side of the scale to balance it out.
Job responds, "Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times" (Job 9:2-3). Yes, God is just. But that's not the problem. The injustice is not with God, but with Job. If he wanted to make himself right before God, it would be an impossible task to heap up enough good on the scales to cancel out the bad.
Does God pervert justice? Never. But His justice is a little strange. By rights, everyone should receive Job's punishments and worse. But we don't. God's justice is tempered by His mercy, and even Job did not receive all that he deserved for his injustices.
God does not pervert justice, but He answers it in a new way. He descends into the depths of our depravity to suffer the injustice of the Cross, thereby elevating us into His grace. Christ bends the scales of justice with His forgiveness.
"How can a man be in the right before God?" Job asks. "You are forgiven," Jesus answers. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
For You have promised, Lord, to heed Your children's cries in time of need Through Him whose name alone is great, Our Savior and our advocate. ("When in the Hour of Deepest Need" LSB 615, st.3)
-Rev. Jacob Ehrhard is the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church and School in Chicago, IL.
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