What a gift we have in the Christmas season. God himself took on flesh and dwelt among us that we might find eternal relationship in him. His coming serves as a continual reminder of his grace and pursuit of us who are lost without him. As we look to Jesus this week to celebrate who he is and what he’s done, may you find life-giving hope and foundational joy.
Often the word “justice” is taken as synonymous with punishment. Our societies have justice systems. We demand justice for the oppressed by punishing the wrongdoer. We see justice as the necessary counter to our world’s inherent depravity.
To be sure, justice is an incredibly important component to life. But we serve a King who, while entirely just, is also completely merciful. We serve a God who doesn’t shy away from consequence and conviction but looks for every opportunity to give good gifts to his children.
Isaiah 30:18 illustrates this heavenly tension in saying, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah spoke this word to an incredibly idolatrous people. Israel was not a nation we would judge as worthy of blessing. But God, through his heart of mercy and justice, constantly led his people back into his fold by whatever means necessary that he might reward them with good and pleasing gifts.
Even in moments of weakness your heavenly Father loves you. Even in moments where you would condemn yourself your Father delights in showing mercy. And even though we don’t deserve one good thing from a perfect God, because of his merciful justice he lavishly rewards even the smallest of good within us.
James 1:17 teaches us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” All that is good in your life was supplied by the hand of your heavenly Father. Every dollar you’ve made and possession you’ve received was God’s good pleasure to give you. Every friendship you’ve developed and family member added to your number was graciously provided to you because you serve a just and merciful King.
In this Christmas season may we celebrate the just heart of Jesus. May we find peace and comfort in the fact that God sees the world rightly but looks upon us with compassion. And may our hearts be filled with worship as we look to Jesus, our just King.
1. Meditate on the just heart of Jesus. Allow the truth of God’s character to open up places in your heart to receive him.
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him.” Isaiah 30:18
2. Where do you see the merciful justice of God in your life? Where do you see him bestowing gifts upon you?
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17
3. Take time to worship Jesus in response to everything he’s given you. Offer up prayers of thanksgiving to him for all his goodness.
“Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.” Isaiah 12:5
Part of the mystery of the Christian life is embracing paradoxes. We serve a God of mercy and justice. We who deserve nothing have been given everything. Life with God is filled with glorious paradox. May we celebrate who God is this season and offer him our hearts in response to his great love. May we elevate the King of justice who in his loving-kindness took on flesh that he might get the punishment we deserved. All glory to Jesus, our just King.
Extended Reading: Isaiah 30