Pursuing Justice – The Old Testament- Death

Have you ever considered what the Bible says about justice? Have you ever read any book or blog post, that tells you what the Bible thinks about justice? Have you ever heard that God hates injustice? Have you ever seen scripture used to defend those who have been treated unjustly?

I have. But as I have done it, I have often been left with questions.

One of the troubles I have, is that very often we use the Old Testament to justify and encourage our actions towards injustice. But, the Old Testament has a different paradigm then the New Testament. Now that is easy to say, so let me explain.

In the Old Testament, Scripture is written for the people of Israel. It is not written for people outside of Israel.  God spent an enormous amount of time separating Israel from rest of the world. This is in part where we get the word “holy”. Holiness is the separation between good and bad. Justice is about keeping that separation.

Justice in the Old Testament, is about keeping bad from infecting good.

There are two thoughts that we must consider when we look at Old Testament justice. First, if someone inside of Israel acted unjustly, acted in sin, there was punishment the needed to take place. For example, if someone treated the Sabbath with disrespect, they could be punished with death.

Outside of Israel, God did not require justice in the same way. In fact, Justice for Israel was to overwhelm the rest of the world with holiness, and often that looked like brütal wars, and killing many innocent people by our standards today. Therefore, justice for Israel, was the right to kill anyone that got in the way of them following Gods perfect standards.  I’m pretty sure that this is not how God wants us to pursue Justice today.

We must be careful how we use the Bible to justify our beliefs. That does not mean that God likes injustice. It also does not mean that we should not get the value of justice through scripture. But too often, we throw Bible verses around to support our values, without looking at the whole context.

So now what? I guess we need to keep reading the Bible. I think praying would be beneficial too. 🙂

I will write again soon.