Frankly, there are some things difficult to either understand or accept in the scriptures, particularly in the Old Testament. When I come up against things like this I have a default scripture that I turn to as my source. I still may not understand but I remain in a place of trust and acceptance. The scripture is found in context of Abraham interceding with the Lord for Sodom. Abraham concludes his intercession in the following manner.
25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25 (NKJV)
The phrase I turn to often is the last sentence, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” I have a fundamental and unwavering belief that righteousness and justice are important and that He is just and shall do right. That is not a question in my mind. I know we shall all have to eventually give an account before the Judgement Seat of Christ and trust He is a fair and faithful judge who shall execute righteousness and justice.
Now I also believe it is not wise to build a theology off a single verse of scripture. So here are some of the verses in the Old Testament that refer to the importance of righteousness and justice.
19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.” Genesis 18:19 (NKJV)
5 He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. Psalm 33:5 (NKJV)
14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; Mercy and truth go before Your face. Psalm 89:14 (NKJV)
2 Clouds and darkness surround Him; Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Psalm 97:2 (NKJV)
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path. Proverbs 2:9 (NKJV)
3 To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. Proverbs 21:3 (NKJV)
The first passage refers to the beginning of Abraham’s intercession for Sodom and Yahweh explains why He has made Himself known to Abraham, so Abraham can teach his descendants and household to follow Yahweh’s way, to keep righteousness and justice. This makes sense when we discover later in scripture that righteousness and justice are they very foundation of His throne. His rule, His place of authority is built upon righteousness and justice. He cannot do anything that violates righteousness and justice.
Our sensibilities may recoil at His destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah but sometimes evil is so entrenched and infectious in a people or area that it needs to be eradicated. Things may not appear that way from where we see but we need to learn to look from His perspective. Sin is like a cancer that destroys if left unchecked. I know in my own life the dangers of cancer being untreated. I have had two surgeries for cancer, both of which caused physical pain, particularly the second. Interestingly I had no pain from cancer, something that was destroying me inside and unseen. Prior to my second surgery I felt fine, had recovered well from the first surgery and was ready to get on with life. All the tests had been run and there was no evidence of further cancer. The surgeon wanted to perform the second surgery as a precautionary measure. I was reluctant but gave in to pressure from my wife. It saved my life. After the operation the surgeon told me that when he opened me up he discovered a cancerous tumour the size of a grapefruit around my aorta. I would have died in the near future.
The point of my story is that to all appearances I was fine. Though I felt fine something unseen inside me was killing me and needed to be dealt with. Our Father, because He rules from a place of righteousness and justice, knows what needs to be dealt with in our world and how it is best addressed. He sees the reality that lies behind appearances. Knowing this, we, like Abraham, can partner with Him in prayer asking that righteousness and justice be done. We can do this while at the same time acknowledging that even if things don’t look as we think they should, the judge of all the earth will do right.
Knowing that the throne He rules and reigns from is actually built upon righteousness and justice makes it easy to trust that He will do right. With this perspective let us open His word and come to His throne agreeing with His heart, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10).