This Week’s Theme
The Justice of God
(The Knowledge of the Holy [KOTH], Chapter 17)
Our present day seems bent and falls short of understanding and applying justice to its citizens. The cries of those who are oppressed, broken, and abused rise among us, with few scarcely seeming to react or care regarding their plight. In the wake of such unfair treatment, is there any hope of right judgment, good treatment, fair play?
The God of the Scriptures reveals himself as a God of justice. “In the inspired Scriptures justice and righteousness are scarcely to be distinguished from each other. The same word in the original becomes in English justice or righteousness, almost, one would suspect, at the whim of the translator. The Old Testament asserts God’s justice in language clear and full, and as beautiful as may be found anywhere in the literature of mankind” (KOTH, p. 86). According to Tozer, justice embodies the idea of moral equity, with the idea of iniquity being the exact opposite of equity (i.e., in-equity, the absence of equality from our thoughts and actions), (ibid, p. 87). When we use justice concerning our God, we are simply describing him being himself; all his ways, thoughts, judgments, pronouncements, commands, and actions are just, equitable, and fair. God cannot be otherwise. Every thought and act of our God is perfectly just; though one may blame him for a variety of what appear to be arbitrary acts, in God’s reckoning his thoughts, judgments, and deeds are just. In the end, all will receive what his just will determines, no exceptions (Gal. 6.7-9).
In his farewell song to the LORD, Moses appeals to the heavens and the earth to hear his words and teaching, that his “teaching drops as the rain, my speech distills as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb. For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God!” (Deut. 32.2-3). In verse 4, Moses declares the majesty of God, highlighting his justice. “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.” Moses begins his poetic song with an worshipful affirmation of the Rock, the God of justice, who is faithful without any iniquity, just and right in who he is and what he does.
Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation
Our Father, we love Thee for Thy justice. We acknowledge that Thy judgments are true and righteous altogether. Thy justice upholds the order of the universe and guarantees the safety of all who put their trust in Thee. We live because Thou art just and merciful. Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, righteous in all Thy ways and holy in all Thy works. Amen.
~ KOTH, p. 86
Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.
Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.
Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day
Thursday: Mark 14.53-15.1; Matt. 26.57-27.10; Luke 22.54-71; John 18.25-27
Psalm: Ps. 25.1-9
OT: Exod. 17.1-7
Gospel: Matt. 21.23-32
NT: Phil. 2.1-13
(Click here for all readings)
Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling
Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).
Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.
Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.
Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)
Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.
Departing to Serve
Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds, in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head.
Bold shall I stand in Thy great day;
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
Fully absolved through these I am
From sin and fear, from guilt and shame.
~ Count N. L. von Zinzendorf (KOTH, p. 89)
Affirmation for the Day
“There is nothing in [God’s] justice which forbids the exercise of his mercy” (KOTH, p. 88).
Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Arise, O LORD! Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you! (Ps. 9.19).
For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
The Mercy of God, Psalm 103.1-14
Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy