Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Heads AND Tails

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.
Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.
Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship,
for they will walk in the light of your presence, Lord. (Psalm 89:13-15, NLT)

We human people tend to think in terms of either/or, I've found. We see it all the way from high school cliques (either a jock or a geek or a goth, etc. rarely a combination of several types) to adult career choices (are you going to be a real "career" person or make the sacrifice and be "family" person?) – after all, a coin can't be both heads and tails at the same time, can it? We just don't do balance very well, at least not the people I've come in contact with in my 38 years.

Luckily God is big enough to put opposites together in a way that may not make sense to our puny little human minds. Take his justice and his mercy, for example. Common sense would tell us that we can either give judgment to the guilty or give mercy to them. But God does both somehow.

This Psalm tells us that justice and righteousness are the foundation of his throne, and that love and truth are his attendants. In other words, everything thing he does is based on the simple fact that God is righteous and just and he will never do anything to contradict that. But the filters (if you will) through which he delivers himself are love and truth. Or, everything he does, including dispensing justice and demanding righteousness, he does in and with love and truth.

Our human courts don't give us an adequate understanding of this principle. When we think of justice, we think of people getting what they deserve. But mercy would be the equivalent of a judge passing down a ruling and then serving the sentence in the guilty person's place. That scenerio would settle the accounts for being both just and merciful.

No wonder then that, if that's the way God loves us, we would be happy to hear the joyful call to worship and to walk in the light of his presence.

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