Deuteronomy 25 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“If the guilty party deserves to be flogged, the judge will make him lie down and be flogged in his presence with the number of lashes appropriate for his crime. He may be flogged 40 lashes, but no more. Otherwise, if he is flogged with more lashes than these, your brother will be degraded in your sight.” Deuteronomy 25:2-3
In the Messianic (Christiand) faith, there are three words that are important to understand, when it comes to the relationship between Man’s behavior and G_d’s standard: Justice, Grace, Mercy.
Justice is blind execution of the law. It respects no person, and is purely an advocate of the law’s standard. When an alleged infraction arises, Justice is executed solely on facts, weighed against the letter of the law. The Bible says of G_d,
“He will by no means clear the guilty.” Exodus 34:7
Mercy is when the guilty party does not get what they deserve, due to the benevolence of 1) an accuser, or 2) a judge. While guilt remains, (Guilt is an immutable state of being for the law breaker) the consequences for guilt are lessened or removed through Mercy. The Bible speaks of G_d’s great mercy,
“But G_d, Who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah, even though we were dead in trespasses.” Ephesians 2:4-5a
Grace is getting something you don’t deserve. If I were to walk up to a complete stranger and give them a Ferrari, that would be gracious…to say the least! They had done nothing to acquire such a gift, and the gifting was not contrary to their spiritual condition, per se.
“But by grace you are saved! He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the Heavens, in Messiah Yeshua, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable of His grace in His kindness to us in Yeshua.” Ephesians 2:5b-7
Today’s passage in Deuteronomy 25 primarily deals with Justice and Mercy. It shows how a judge can be BOTH Just and Merciful in the same instance. The Judge can carry-out the full letter of the law while respecting the dignity of the person being punished.
Let this be a challenge. When seeking justice, remember to be merciful. Through it all, the guilty party remains your “brother or sister”. Perhaps, the greatest gift you’ll ever give yourself is an enemy-turned-grateful friend.
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Monday, July 7, 2014