As we come to Labor Day and the unofficial close of the summer season we are also coming toward the close of our journey with the prophets Elijah and Elisha. This penultimate week we will be looking at II Kings, chapters 9 &10, a brutal portion in the history of Israel but an important reminder that we serve a God who cares about justice. Justice is much talked about in our current cultural moment, though often little defined. We tend to think about justice in terms of equality or getting what you deserve. Whereas the Biblical idea of mishpat goes a step further and claims not only equality and rights, but generosity and pro-active advocacy. One person helpfully distinguishes between retributive justice (which we tend to think of in the west) and distributive justice (justice that seeks ways to sow righteousness); mishpat is both of these. This is most clearly seen through the cross of Christ where satisfaction for sin was made (retributive justice) and a hope-filled, new way was forged through the action of a pursuing, merciful benefactor (distributive justice). Tim Keller has written a very helpful piece that examines current articulations of justice and compares them to a Biblical view of justice. I commend it to you.
In addition, the appearance of Labor Day marks the return of fall programming such as Bible studies for men, women, and college-aged, and other discipleship initiatives. Some of these details you may have already heard, but keep your ears peeled as more information will be forthcoming.
2020 has been a strange year to be sure. But life continues, a personal God of justice is on His throne, and there is much to be thankful for.