Ecclesiastes 3:17 — I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.
“He’s getting away!” This line gets said in many movies. The context is usually a villain escaping the grasp and capture of the good guys. The setting usually shows an evil person guilty of atrocities looking as if they are going to “get away.” This means they will not only escape the grasp of their pursuers but escape justice for their evils.
This doesn’t sit well with us. We want bad guys punished. We want justice served when evil has occurred. This is embedded in our hearts as creatures made in the image of God.
Our passage today reminds us of the justice of God. Justice is an attribute of who God is. He always does what is right. The writer of Ecclesiastes says in his heart, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked.” At some point, each person will account for their actions. There is a time for every matter and work to be weighed on the scales of God’s justice.
This is good news for the Christian. We do not have our works alone standing for us. The work of Christ stands for us. And we do not have our failures alone standing for us, Christ took our failures. God’s justice was poured out at the cross on Jesus. God’s justice was upheld as a righteous Judge against sin. Yet His mercy as the justifier of sinners also revealed itself.
But what about the things that happen in the world? What about starving or mistreated children? What about women who have been sex-trafficked? What about those who have been cheated, hustled, lied to, and maligned unfairly? God will judge the righteous and the wicked. This judgment occurs in some ways, right now. God blesses and curses in this life. But this judgment will happen ultimately on the Day where the scales of justice are weighed once and for all. The judge of all the earth will do right.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do we as human beings care so much about justice? Why don’t animals?
- How does the justice of God encourage us in a world of injustice?
- How do Christians labor for justice in the world while remembering God is the ultimate just Judge?