Sermons

Summary: During a time of community pain, we need to know that God is a God of Justice.

God Stories

The God of Justice May 18, 2003

Holly – our desire for justice in this crime

This past week we have had a terrible crime committed in our city – I know that you have all heard how little Holly Jones went missing on Monday and how they found her body on Tuesday and began the search for her killer.

There may have been many emotions going through your heart and head this week.

- compassion for the family – we know that they are aching and will continue to ache for a long time. While we might want to turn away from this horrendous scene, I believe that we need to feel their pain with them for some time

- fear for our own children – this happened outside our neighbourhood, but not that far, and we worry about the safety of our children

- shock that this could happen in our city

- desire for justice – we want to see the perpetrator arrested and punished

Let’s turn to God with all of these emotions knowing that he is with us and with the family.

Pray

While praying about this event this week, I realized that although the real victims of this crime are Holly and her parents, family and friends, that we are all victims because it has impacted us all. I also have a sense that the land itself has been defiled.

All through scripture there are stories of crimes that cry out to heaven for justice, and as on Palm Sunday the stones would have cried out in praise if the people did not, here the land cries out for justice.

The story of Cain & Able – Genesis 4

Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD . 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

6 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let’s go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

9 Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"

"I don’t know," he replied. "Am I my brother’s keeper?"

10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."

10 The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.

There are other stories in the scripture that are actually closer to Holly’s and I tried to tell them, but as I did I found I could not go there – it was too close and painful, but in these stories too, the very land cries out for justice.

The reason that the land cries out for justice is that the God who made it is the God of Justice.

Psalm 94

O LORD, the God to whom vengeance belongs,

O God of vengeance, let your glorious justice be seen!

Arise, O judge of the earth.

Sentence the proud to the penalties they deserve.

How long, O LORD?

How long will the wicked be allowed to gloat?

Hear their arrogance!

How these evildoers boast!

They oppress your people, LORD,

hurting those you love.

They kill widows and foreigners

and murder orphans.

"The LORD isn’t looking," they say,

"and besides, the God of Israel[1] doesn’t care."

Think again, you fools!

When will you finally catch on?

Is the one who made your ears deaf?

Is the one who formed your eyes blind?

He punishes the nations--won’t he also punish you?

He knows everything--doesn’t he also know what you are doing?

The LORD knows people’s thoughts,

that they are worthless!

Happy are those whom you discipline, LORD,

and those whom you teach from your law.

You give them relief from troubled times

until a pit is dug for the wicked.

The LORD will not reject his people;

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