Posted on Sep 26, 2020 | 0 comments

This is a great season to ask … “Are you here  for such a time as this“? And if so, to do what?

It seems that this question runs through each of us at one point or another and many of us push that question aside because we simply don’t know what to do with it. I’ve done it…have you? So let’s look at it again…and this time, maybe together we can come to some realistic ground rules.

For women the answers will be different than men and for men it will different than women, but as a PEOPLE there are some basic, go-to, real starting points. So let’s open the scriptures and find out what the Holy One says – that should be our go-to book anyway.

One of the scriptures that always seems to be a starting point for me, no matter what the subject, is found in Micah 6:8:

He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

So, basically, no matter what we are facing in our lives, we need to try to remember that first of all the Holy One wants us to walk humbly…to be humble. But what does that mean? The dictionary says that humble means:

  • not proud or not thinking of yourself as better than other people

  • not proud or haughty, not arrogant or assertive

That’s a pretty basic description and actually pretty easy to understand. But the hard part is actually looking within yourself and being totally honest with who you really are. One can look in the mirror…examine every tiny little feature of your face, but if you already think you know what you already look like, then you’ll simply MISS the sometimes subtle nuances that should alert you! See that raised eyebrow? Notice that frown line? What happened to what we are supposed to reflect? mmmmmm

In the Hebrew the word humble is anav and it is the condition of a person or maybe a better way to say it is that it is the characteristic of a person’s heart.  So how does that actually work in real life? One’s heart will always be evident in one’s actions. To get a full and deeper meaning of the word anav, do a word search in your bible program and look at the various ways this word is translated and used in the scriptures.

So, let’s look a bit deeper and get a bit more real. We are ALL at one time or another not humble! True? True. Got that out of the way. So what do we do about that? We recognize it for what it is and then we’ve taken the first step of recovery. And sometimes it can be a long road, so don’t give up. Spending time in Psalms or various other scriptures that speak to your heart can be a healing balm. But always remember that we are to walk ‘humbly‘ before our God. So let us check our attitudes, let us not think more of ourselves than another and let us begin to allow Him to show us how to walk in the footsteps of the Messiah…who was a perfect example of waking humbly. If a thought comes to your mind where you begin to recognize a haughty or self-righteous attitude, cast it down with Micah 6:8. Recognize it for what it is and see with His eyes….loving eyes…forgiving eyes…merciful eyes.

The next thing is ‘to do justice and to love kindness‘. That might be a bit more difficult to take apart but let’s try. The dictionary says justice means:

  1. The maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments;  the administration of law; especially:  the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
  2. The quality of being just, impartial, or fair; the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action; conformity to this principle or ideal;  righteousness;  the quality of conforming to law
  3. Conformity to truth, fact, or reason;  correctness

and ‘kindness‘ means

  1. the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate.

Synonyms are: Kindliness, kindheartedness, warmheartedness, affection, warmth, gentleness, concern, care.

Wow…that’s a mouthful. Let’s examine it a bit closer. What would it look like if we went back to the ancient understanding our forefathers had? Well, in Hebrew thinking – justice doesn’t actually mean fair … at least how we understand it.

In Hebraic thinking, we are to live our lives and set our standard by Torah. We are to live by that standard, Torah. Our lives and our conduct should be ruled by Torah itself.  Thinking of justice in the terms of the courts of men is not found in Torah! The true  meaning of justice is only found in the words of God and then applied by men. So our justice is actually the words of Torah. When faced with a situation or circumstance, find out what Torah say about it. But remember, we need to apply kindness when we do justice.

Justice (or righteousness) in Hebrew is tzedek  and is one of the attributes of YHWH (God) Himself. If we are created in His Image, than righteousness also applies to us and we have a right to exercise that righteousness/justice in our daily lives. When following that word a bit further we find the word tzedakah which means charity. Consider what Isaiah wrote in 32:17  “The work of righteousness (tzedakah) shall be peace”, and then in addition he said, “the service of righteousness shall be quietness and security forever.” More to think on that word we call ‘justice’ – don’t you think?

So how do we determine the actual how to do justice with kindness? Well, one way may be to remember various other scriptures and stories in our handbook. Justice alone would have had the Holy One to scorch Sodom (and He would have been completely righteous in doing so) and yet He listened with compassion to Abraham when he pleaded for mercy. Justice would have had the Holy One scorch the entire earth with His wrath if it were not within the bounds of His attribute of mercy with justice. For not one of us is without sin, not one of us is worthy of redemption if we are to be ‘judged by the book’. We are all unequivocally worthy of His wrath. Wow! That should be a wake-up call to anyone who actually thinks he’s special, or anointed, or righteous! My head hangs low and my heart weeps with how far short I have fallen of what He desires! How many times have I ‘judged’ and left out the mercy believing that my interpretation of what was read was the correct way, the only correct answer? Forgive me Father and let me always remember to allow You to be the judge…

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  2.“For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  3. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (Matthew 7:1-3)

So let’s go to Zechariah “Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah saying, “Thus has the Lord of hosts said, ‘Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.”  Zechariah 7:8-10

The only way we can actually dispense true justice, in my humble opinion, is to mirror the Father and what He has shown throughout time. Justice with mercy and kindness.

So now we have the word “kindness”, and in the Hebrew it is chesed and it is used as a covenant word – the kind of covenant between God and Israel. How does Scripture tells us that this God of this people, Israel, dealt with them throughout history? Was Israel always obedient, always perfect? Not hardly! Israel continuously went astray, continuously served other idols and yet the great Elohim (God) of Israel would not let her go – no not once. His relationship to His people was built on His loving kindness, His mercy, and His goodness – and every bit of it was entirely undeserved on their (our) part! This, then, is what we are to glean when applying kindness as we try to bring about justice in this world when everything in the world calls out measure for measure! This is the reason that the predominant use of chesed (which actually has no equivalent in English) is to always include mercy and forgiveness. God maintains his part of the covenant with these attributes – and does it to the nth degree!

One might think that we are then unable to mete out justice at all, but no we are simply to look at situations/circumstances from His eyes…face to face. We are part of the House, we are part of His people, and He has spared us, time and time again. The Holy One demands justice, he demands right action and never wavers. And that is the great dilemma for all of us.  However, let us take note of the 11th century AD Jewish commentator, Rashi, and what he had to say about which comes first – mercy or justice. Rashi said that God gave ‘precedence to the rule of mercy’ and joined it ‘with the rule of justice.’  Interesting thought isn’t it?

If we are to remain a people at all, even a remnant of a people, we are to treasure and stand in wonder of God’s unfailing loving-kindness throughout history. His mercy is greater than we will ever be able to comprehend, because we all deserve justice. One thing, however, we must always remember, and that is that while the Hebrew word chesed has been translated as loving-kindness and mercy, it is always coupled with repentance. They go hand in hand, as we can see all throughout scripture. It comes down of course, to relationship. Yahuah (God) had an intimate, personal and day to day relationship with His chosen people. We need that intimate, personal, day to day relationship not only with Him…but with His people.

So, bottom line – what does all this mean for you and me? Well, it could mean that the next time you feel that your brother or sister needs your form of justice…your interpretation of justice…well, remember what the Holy One of Israel has done for you…and tread carefully.

Can we do any less?

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