THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2016
MERCY AND JUSTICE - 4
Today’s reading: Daniel 3:14-95
God is a God of mercy and justice. It might seem that mercy
and justice are opposites, but they actually are complementary.
They are two sides of the same coin.
is punishment for sin. The God who calls us to do good and
to be good will punish us if we do evil. He does this for
our own good. Such is the justice of God. “For you are
just in all you have done; .... By a proper judgment you have
done all this because of our sins” (v.27-28). How have
we sinned? “For we have sinned and transgressed by departing
from you, and we have done every kind of evil.” (v.29).
We are meant to be with God and to be like God, and whenever
we act otherwise we depart from Him. Such action, in rejecting
God who is love, oftentimes leads us to do evil, those things
that are totally opposed to the ways of a pure God.
specifically do we reject God? “Your commandments we
have not heeded or observed, nor have we done as you ordered
us for our good.” (v.30). We depart from God and reject
Him when we do not obey His commands, and when we veer away
from the path He has designated for us, such path intended
for our own good.
God loves us and continues to have a great plan for us. How
does God bring us back? Well, if we already reject Him and
His ways, then God uses other means. He allows the world to
become His instrument of punishment. One of the most potent
is an oppressive government. Such was the case with King Nebuchadnezzar
who had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego cast into the fiery
furnace, because they refused to worship his god (v.14-23).
Today oppressive governments such as that of Obama in the
USA are assaulting faith, family and life, and using unjust
laws to beat people into submission. “You have handed
us over to our enemies, lawless and hateful rebels; to an
unjust king, the worst in all the world.” (v.32). Innocent
people become victims of such oppression.
such injustice can still be an instrument of God’s justice.
Being powerless and desperate in such situations, such justice
is a way by which we look to the mercy of God. We are made
to realize that we suffer such injustice because we have strayed
away from the protective embrace of God. We have fallen short
of His mark; we have sinned. “For we are reduced, O
Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the
world this day because of our sins.” (v.37). If not
for what we suffer, we would not recognize the error of our
turn away from God because they want to chart their own path.
And they look to their own strength and capabilities. Especially
in today’s highly technological world, many begin to
think they are gods (or at least no longer need God). Such
pride leads to destruction. God’s justice, as a companion
of mercy, brings us down to reality. Without God we are nothing.
Being humbled, the way is now open to repentance, a turning
back to God. “But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received” (v.39a). With such metanoia,
the way is now open to living according to God’s design,
as He intended from the very start. “And now we follow
you with our whole heart, we fear you and we seek your face.”
(v.41a). We obey God’s commands, we stand in awe of
Him, and we enter more deeply into an intimate relationship
as we experience the justice of God (perhaps via injustice
from the world), let us look to His mercy. We know our God
is loving and faithful. We ask God: “deal with us in
your kindness and great mercy.” (v.42). We trust in
Him and in His great plan for our lives, knowing with great
confidence that “those who trust in you cannot be put
to shame.” (v.40b). And so we need not say it, but let
us say it anyway: “Do not take away your mercy from