Bribes: As a young man, Candide – whose name means “innocent” – believes, “What happens, happens for the best in the end,” writes Voltaire. His theory, however, is tested through a series of events – one being his acquisition of a great fortune. Initially, he thinks that his new money will help him bribe his way out of arrests, beatings and other troubles. Yet he soon discovers that seeing his money go to unscrupulous merchants and officials brings him even greater unhappiness. In other words, he realizes that, when justice is for sale, even those who can afford it can take no comfort.
Impartiality: In Deuteronomy 10, we see that God’s justice is not for sale: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe” . This means that he is able to care for those who cannot afford bribes: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing” .
Integrity: Sometimes our hearts want to strike bribe-like deals with God: “If I do X for you, then will you do Y for me?” Yet we know deeply that, we can take no comfort in God’s justice if it is for sale. We desperately need it to have integrity. When we look upon the cross, therefore, it is a joy to see God’s commitment to his not-for-sale justice. On the cross, we see that God sent Jesus to satisfy the demands of his justice. His sacrifice was not a bribe, but rather the costly payment of the debt we owed. In turn, God never asks us to strike deals with him because the debt has been paid. Instead, he merely longs for us to recognize our widow-like, orphan-like and sojourner-like state of helplessness before him and fall upon his everlasting grace.
Prayer: Lord, Justice that is for sale is no justice at all. We confess, however, that we sometimes are tempted to deal with you as though your justice is for sale. Forgive us, Father, and let us rejoice that your justice has integrity. As we see the cross, give us a vision for lives of holiness that recognize our helplessness before you. Amen.
 Deuteronomy 10:17 ESV |  Deuteronomy 10:18 ESV