Scripture Focus: Numbers 3.5-7
5 The Lord said to Moses, 6 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the Lord is guilty 7 and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged.

Psalm 37.1-6; 37-40
1 Do not fret because of those who are evil 
or be envious of those who do wrong; 
2 for like the grass they will soon wither, 
like green plants they will soon die away. 
3 Trust in the Lord and do good; 
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. 
4 Take delight in the Lord, 
and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
5 Commit your way to the Lord; 
trust in him and he will do this: 
6 He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, 
your vindication like the noonday sun.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright; 
a future awaits those who seek peace.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed; 
there will be no future for the wicked. 
39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; 
he is their stronghold in time of trouble. 
40 The Lord helps them and delivers them; 
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, 
because they take refuge in him. 

Reflection: Justice Starts Within
By John Tillman

We often experience evil that is external to ourselves and acts upon us. This evil, whether the direct actions of humans or not, is a reflection and repercussion of individual and collective sin.

Christianity simultaneously holds an extraordinarily high view of human nature and an extraordinarily low view. Humans are “gods,” Jesus quotes (John 10.34-36; Psalm 82.6) and just lower than the angels. (Hebrews 2.5-8; Psalm 8.5) Yet, we are also rebellious and broken. Evil infects and corrupts our best intentions. (Romans 3.10-12; Psalms 14.1-3; 53.1-3; Ecclesiastes 7.20) Creation itself is cursed because of our sin. (Genesis 3.17; Romans 8.20-23) At the peak of human righteousness we stand dressed in filth rather than finery. (Romans 3.10; Isaiah 64.6; Psalm 143.2)

If evil was just a few regrettable actions by a few misguided people, we’d be “god” enough to handle it. We could just “do better,” as many voices on social media tell us to do, and lock up the “bad apples” who fail this charge.

The problem with evil is that it is not isolated in bad apples. Evil is insidiously embedded in humanity. Solzhenitsyn said, “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Paul said, “I want to do good, evil is right there with me…who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7.21-25)

Justice must start within. Jesus confronts our tainted hearts, comforting us when suffering under wickedness, while simultaneously discomforting us by attacking our wickedness. Christ delivers us from an inner evil nature through sanctification. (Luke 11.20-22) If we allow him to, he will go beyond destroying the evil piece of our heart. He will give us a brand new heart that will grieve injustice and work for justice, both inwardly and outwardly.

We join our voices and bend our backs to the suffering and working of all God’s people for justice. (Revelation 6.9-11) There is evil without and evil within, but greater is Jesus than any evil. (1 John 4.4) God is with us through any suffering and his grace to us is sufficient to work in and through us. 

As the Holy Spirit within us contests our inner evils, he also spurs us to act in Christ’s name on behalf of justice against evils that go beyond personal or individual. Justice starts within. It doesn’t stop there. 

May we answer the call, becoming agents of Christ, seeking out darkness and shining a light of justice and truth.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Request for Presence

Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold; for the sake of your Name, lead me and guide me. — Psalm 31.3

– Divine Hours prayers from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle

Today’s Readings
Numbers 3 (Listen – 6:01)
Psalms 37 (Listen – 4:21)

Read more about Prayer Amidst Evil :: Guided Prayer
We turn to God in prayer, trusting that in past, present, and future sufferings, his grace is sufficient for us.

Read more about Hope for Marred Pots
God, understanding Jeremiah’s grief, sends him to a place he can see that there is hope for marred and broken things—the potter’s house.