The God of Justice

“I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He will bring me out to the light, and I will see His righteousness.” Micah 7:9

Pleads – You’re caught. You are arrested and charged. There’s not much point in resisting since you know you are guilty. You stand before the judge, ashamed and humiliated. What can you do? There is no way out of this unless someone pleads your case. But who would plead the case of a man who has already confessed to the crime? Actually, only one person could do such a thing – the injured party. The only person able to speak for the criminal is the victim.

That’s the scenario in Micah’s courtroom description. I have offended the Most High God. He is the injured party. There is no question about my guilt. Therefore, only He is able to take up my case and bring about justice. The law demands punishment, but the victim can plead for mercy. If God doesn’t act on my behalf, there is nothing ahead but wrath and misery.

The Hebrew word riyv comes directly from the courtroom. It means to conduct a lawsuit, to contest and dispute in legal proceedings. God Himself uses this word to describe His accusation against idolatrous Israel (Isaiah 3:13). Now Micah says that unless God takes up our sorrowful verdict, we are lost. In the court of heaven, I need the best attorney in all creation, and that, of course, is the merciful Lord Himself.

This is a legal proceeding like no other. God is victim, judge and defense counsel. It may seem a bit strange to us, but this is the way it must be. God is judge by right of creation. He made it all. He owns it all. He sets the rules in place for the governance of it all. God is also the victim here because, in spite of His right to require obedience, I have spurned Him. I have refused to live according to the decrees of the Owner of all. He is the injured party in this proceeding.

But Micah also tells me that God is the defense counsel. I discover that God is not simply the moral policeman of the universe. He is exactly as He describes Himself in Exodus 34:6 – compassionate and full of mercy. God steps in to plead my case when there is absolutely no excuse for my actions.

So, what does pleading mean when I am a confessed criminal? From my perspective, it can only mean one thing a cry for a merciful verdict. In these circumstances, that’s all I could come up with. That, however, is not God’s way. God’s way is amazingly controversial, completely unanticipated and absolutely unique. The victim voluntarily dies in the place of the guilty. This is the whole creation turned upside-down. Nothing could have prepared us for this solution. The law is upheld. The judge is satisfied. The guilty are forgiven. Mercy triumphs over wrath without compromising justice.

This might be a good day to praise the God Who died in your place. It’s the only reason you are free.

by Skip Moen
used by permission

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