What God Wants From Us: To Do Justice

Last week we considered what God would want from us and specifically looked at the words of the prophet Micah in Micah 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the LORD require of youbut to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God?” To be clear, this is more than a want or a “wish list” from God. These are requirements. While the word “require” may seem overbearing to some, we may need to be reminded of our position in comparison to God. I don’t typically refer to the New International Version Bible, but the word used in place of “man” is “mortal.” If nothing else, remember we’re mortal beings in the presence of the immortal God. 

So, what about those requirements? The first one mentioned is “to do justice.” How exactly does one dojustice? Does it mean we take the law into our own hands and serve as judge, jury, and executioner for matters pertaining to our life? Not hardly. Remember the context: Micah is focused on the people of Judah and their attitude. Looking earlier in the text (i.e. Micah 2:1, 2, 8), we can see they were unjust and evil. Clearly, God wants the opposite – both then and now! God want’s our mode of operation to be focused on always doing what’s right. Sounds like a no brainer, but let’s think about the challenge of this expectation through the eyes of a challenged biblical character: Joseph

Joseph’s story begins in Genesis 37 and he was the favorite son of Jacob (aka Israel). He had some big, interesting dreams too. Being the favorite and such a dreamer led his brothers to hate him – so much so that they sold him into slavery and portrayed him as dead to their father. Joseph wound up in Egypt and became a servant of Potiphar, “the captain of the guard” under Pharaoh’s reign (Genesis 39:1). Potiphar trusted Joseph so much, he put him in charge of his estate (39:6).

It’s quite a comeback story, and it’d be easy for Joseph to become quite arrogant of his success. He essentially had everything he could desire at his fingertips, including Potiphar’s wife, as she was throwing herself at him. With the house empty (39:11), who would know if Joseph took Mrs. Potiphar’s offer? Instead, Joseph chose “to do justice.” Look at Joseph’s response to Potiphar’s wife in 39:8-9, “But he refused and said to his master's wife, ‘Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?’” Even after this response, she persisted and he resisted…and then ended up in prison due to her slanderous lies. While he was unjustly treated, he chose to act justly. He stood for what was morally right, regardless of consequence.

If that weren’t enough, Joseph rose to even greater prominence becoming second in command behind Pharaoh. A famine arose and he had a prime opportunity to execute revenge on his unknowing brothers as they came to Egypt desperate for food (Genesis 42-46). Yet again, Joseph chose to look past the heartache and temptation of revenge and he did justice. In other words, he did what God wanted. Let’s be sure to give God what He wants as well.