To crush underfoot
all the prisoners of the earth,
to deny a man justice
in the presence of the Most High,
to subvert a man in his lawsuit,
the Lord does not approve.
Who has spoken and it came to pass,
unless the Lord has commanded it?
Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
that good and bad come?
Why should a living man complain,
a man, about the punishment of his sins?
When I read these verses, I am reminded of the arrogance of man and so is Jeremiah who wrote these lamentations for Israel. I am reminded of the arrogance of people who assume that all justice is defined as they see it. I am talking about the arrogance of those who think that punishment is to be doled out to their own sense of revenge. The assumption that they are the sole proprietors of making the determination of the punishment to fit the crime. People believe they are the center of the universe and therefore the balance is of their doing and it is to be to their satisfaction. But we are only a mere sub atomic particle in the infinity of space.
Justice is very subjective.
Justice is defined by man as: “the maintenance or administration of what is just, especially by the impartial adjustments of conflicting claims, or the assignment of merit rewards or punishment.”
Okay, so what is just? “Having basis in or conforming to fact or reason.”
So all this, what is just and what is justice, is determined by man. Man who is filled with pride, jealousy, covetousness, anger, love, hate, etc.. So we try to pick who is best to determine justice according to laws made by man. The laws are made by men, women, whoever, all who are consumed by emotions, sin, and all the flows through man.
I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying all we can do is try to be as fair as possible as flawed human beings. There are many cases of what we assume to be justice prevailing and many more cases of what we assume to be injustice. But what is justice to one is injustice to another, and that’s just how it will always be.
So Jeremiah writes in verses 38 and 39, true justice comes from God, so who is man to complain.
In verse 33 Jeremiah tells us:
…for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of man…
I previously wrote how Jeremiah tells us that we bring about our own grief and affliction, we bring it upon ourselves with our actions. And so our concept of justice is in terms of trying to placate this grief through revenge on others. But justice is just that, a concept of man. It is man’s attempt to bring balance which is out of our control.
There is no true justice, only balance. What we call justice is man trying to make life easier, and we partially succeed in that regard. It helps to keep a majority of us trying to live honestly. Although we do not fear or even understand the consequences of our actions in regards to the balance of the universe, we certainly can wrap our heads around the consequences of the legal system.
In verse 40 Jeremiah explains what would truly bring us all to justice, or the balance of the universe. If we all do what he writes, which will never happen, there would be no need for any legal system to parse out justice as man sees fit.
Let us test and examine our ways, and return to the Lord.
So what is justice in terms of man and the universe? It’s just a feel good word.
© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.