Elohei Mishpat – The God of Justice
We have been looking at the nature and character of God as described by His many names to see Him as the magnificent, loving, and all-powerful God He is. Some of those names remind us He is strong, He is faithful, He is on our side. But it would not be right to picture Him only as a Teddy Bear or Santa Claus. He is mercy and grace, but He is also justice and judgement among other inconvenient truths. These less fuzzy characteristics of God, while they sometimes frighten us or cause us to rebel, are important to explore as we make God bigger. When we understand them and submit to His Lordship, they also reassure us that we can always count on Him.
So, yes, He is elohei mishpat, the God of Justice (Isaiah 30:18). Numbers 14:18 states that He will “by no means leave the guilty unpunished.” This is frightening because we know our own wicked hearts and we wait for the lightening strike we know is coming. If He is just, if He doesn’t look at the shiny outward appearance, but peers into the filthy cup of our private thoughts and motives, how can we go free?
He is righteousness itself and anything other than perfection is intolerable to Him. To break one law is to bust the whole thing wide open. Even a saint like Paul opines that there is no way he keep it (Romans 7:15-25).
But this is where God gets really big! He set the standard of perfection. He came down from heaven to live life as a man among men, experiencing all the challenges and temptations that we do plus many we will never know, yet He did not sin. Then, in an unimaginable gesture, He paid the price justice demanded for our rebellion. He died a criminal’s death, brutally beaten, mocked, and crucified. He ransomed us from judgement. He captured the keys to hell and death, and He has opened the prison doors and set the captives free.
Those who have accepted God’s free gift of salvation can rejoice in His justice. It is no longer an ax hanging over our heads but a sign of His goodness and mercy. Because He is just, He cannot lie, and He will keep His promises. We can rest assured that one day He will set right all the wrong that we see in the world.
“Justice is a joy to the godly, but it terrifies evildoers.” – Proverbs 21:15 NLT
What do these verses show you about the nature of God?