Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 25, 2014

“To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.”

Today’s devotion comes from Leviticus 24:17-23.

“17 ‘If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.  18 The one who takes the life of an animal shall make it good, life for life.  19 If a man injures his neighbor, just as he has done, so it shall be done to him:  20 fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth;  just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him.  21 Thus the one who kills an animal shall make it good, but the one who kills a man shall be put to death.  22 There shall be one standard for you;  it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.’”  23 Then Moses spoke to the sons of Israel, and they brought the one who had cursed outside the camp and stoned him with stones.  Thus the sons of Israel did, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.”   Leviticus 24:17-23.

—————

Today’s Scripture teaches us two general principles of punishment in justice.

First, punishment should be set to a fixed standard according to just laws applicable to all.  “There shall be one standard for you;  it shall be for the stranger as well as the native, for I am the Lord your God.”  Verse 22.  In other words, there should be one standard of punishment applicable to all.  Punishment should not be different for different people.  Punishment should not be arbitrary, moving, subject to only the whim of the king or judge as to whether he likes or dislikes the person being punished.

Second, punishment should be proportionate to the crime:  “fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth;  just as he has injured a man, so it shall be inflicted on him.”  Verse 20.   A person should not fear that he will be put to death just because he knocked out an important person’s tooth.  Lighter crimes should be subject to lighter punishments, and heavier crimes should be subject to heavier punishments.

Although these two general principles should accord with our common sense, we see these general principles neglected.  There are those who think that certain people or classes of people should be punished more.  There are those who think that certain crimes should be punished more just because a family member was a victim of that particular crime.  There are those who think that they should be tough on crime no matter what.  Many politicians think that “being tough on crime no matter what” is the key to being elected.  Sadly, many Christians blindly support these shallow politicians, also thinking that they should be tough on crime no matter what, because they don’t understand or appreciate these principles of justice.

There is an interesting article titled:  “Column:  (Less) Crime (too much) Punishment” that was written by Eduardo Porter, New York Times, on April 30, 2014.  Here is a link to this article – http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/column-less-crime-and-too-much-punishment/2177628  In the article, Mr. Porter points out that the United States puts in prisons a greater percentage of its citizens than any other country, “about five times the average for fellow industrialized nations”.  And blacks bear the brunt of that neglect of justice.  “Today, a little under half the state and federal prison population is black.  … a black boy born in 2001 had a 32.2 percent chance of doing times behind bars.”

As I did a quick search of Scriptures on the importance of justice, there were too many good ones to include all of them.  Here are some of them.

“He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.”  Psalm 25:9

“He loves righteousness and justice;  The earth is full of the lovingkindness of the Lord.”  Psalm 33:5

“The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.”  Psalm 37:30

“Vindicate the weak and fatherless;  Do justice to the afflicted and destitute.”  Psalm 82:3

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before You.”  Psalm 89:14

“The strength of the King loves justice;  You have established equity; You have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.”  Psalm 99:4

“How blessed are those who keep justice, Who practice righteousness at all times!”  Psalm 106:3

“The works of His hands are truth and justice;  All His precepts are sure.”  Psalm 111:7

“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted And justice for the poor.”  Psalm 140:12

“Who executes justice for the oppressed;  Who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets the prisoners free.”  Psalm 146:7

“To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.”  Proverbs 21:3

“The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, But is terror to the workers of iniquity.”  Proverbs 21:15

“The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.”  Proverbs 29:4

“Learn to do good;  Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.”  Isaiah 1:17

“There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”   Isaiah 9:7

“7 He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
9 Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.”  Proverbs 2:7-9.

“15 “By me (wisdom) kings reign,
And rulers decree justice.
16 “By me princes rule, and nobles,
All who judge rightly.
17 “I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.
18 “Riches and honor are with me,
Enduring wealth and righteousness.
19 “My fruit is better than gold, even pure gold,
And my yield better than choicest silver.
20 “I walk in the way of righteousness,
In the midst of the paths of justice,
21 To endow those who love me with wealth,
That I may fill their treasuries.”  Proverbs 8:15-21.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: