As I read Psalm 97, it strikes me that justice and righteousness are not only the foundation of God’s throne, but the reason for all of the praising and rejoicing going on in the psalm. They are also words that recur, in one form or another, throughout the psalm-and throughout the Scriptures!
Those who spend a lot of time seeking justice and righteousness in our world know that this is very difficult work. While God acts with justice and mercy, most human beings do not, and some issues become so complex that it is hard to see what God’s justice and righteousness might look like. In spite of the difficulties, though, we cannot ignore God’s call to seek these things.
Jesus, too, pointed out how the Pharisees had focused on the easier laws (like tithing mint, dill and cummin) and had neglected “weightier matters” like justice, mercy and faith. (cf. Matthew 23:23) Perhaps it is easier to figure out how to tithe your herbs than it is to practice justice, mercy and righteousness.
As people who believe in Jesus, however, we cannot ignore that justice and righteousness have always been priorities for God’s people. These things are part of loving God and neighbour, which was Jesus’ summary of the law.
Merciful God, empower us with your Holy Spirit, enabling us to work for justice and righteousness in the name of Jesus. Amen. — LLH