Genesis 18: 18-19
As I write, I am on a plane to India. I am flying over Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East. Have you ever stopped to wonder exactly how many nations or ethnic groups there are on the planet and how one man’s heritage would be used to bless them all? In the world today, there are over 15,000 diverse cultural groups!
In this passage, God declared His mission that, through Abraham, all the nations (every ethnic group) on the planet would be blessed or reconciled. This blessing would be both physical and spiritual. God wants to spiritually reconcile all of these groups to Him and he deeply desires that his people live healthy, productive lives.
But how did God plan to bring about His plan of reconciliation? This passage in Genesis tells us: God exhorted Abraham and his descendants to do what is just and right in order to bring about God’s promises.
God was saying that the nation of Israel and, later, all followers of Jesus, would not just be passive subjects in His mission but active participants. God used two separate Hebrew words—we translate them as “justice” and “righteousness”—to communicate the type of activity that would bring about the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham and His mission to bless all nations.
If we do our part, if we do what is just and right, God told us that the nations of the earth would (will) take notice and be drawn to us and, more importantly, drawn to Him. We have a part to play in God’s mission in the world!
Often, we think of justice as an abstract concept. But, in God’s terms, justice is concrete, it is something we do, it is who we are. Justice is not separate from Gods mission in the world. It is not something to be tacked on as a secondary thought. Justice is part of God’s character and, when we engage in the work of justice, is it something that sets us apart—it astonishes those around us, pointing them to Christ.
Doing Justice and Righteousness is an emptying of oneself, giving oneself to the other. During Lent, as we journey toward the cross, let us remember that Christ emptied Himself for us. May God grant us the courage to share in the fellowship of His suffering as we seek to do what is just and what is right for the sake of His mission—restoring the least, redeeming the lost, and reaching out to the last.