November 7, 1995
The arguments continue. Did O. J. really do it? Will this case forever have a cloud hanging over both the crime and the decision? Will we ever know? Maybe, maybe not.
What irks those convinced of his guilt is that he appears to have gotten away with it. Those who disagree are irked because his case became a racial issue and because the police appeared to be on the wrong side of the law. Either way, evil seems to have won.
Whenever law-breakers (or supposed law-keepers) walk away from their rotten deeds without due consequence, Psalm 37 comes to mind. It say: “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away... Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret — it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.”
In historical context, the psalmist was encouraging God’s people. While things looked bad for the moment, evil would not prevail; eventually they would live safely in their land.
The psalm contains an important principle: “The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming. The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.”
There is a day coming for those who escape the long arm of human law. God’s arm is longer. He, in perfect justice, will deal with all who do evil, whether their crime is murder, violence, hatred, racism, abuse, robbery, envy, lying, blasphemy, or even gossip and unbelief.
If I could rephrase Psalm 37 in regard to the O. J. Simpson case, I would write, “Don’t get bent out of shape because a double homicide goes unpunished. Whether guilt lies with unknown assailants, a football player, the police, or (as my dad says) the lawyers, the Lord will deal with them. It is better you do not get riled. Instead, trust God and hold your tongue and your temper. Don’t let evil prevail in your own heart. A vehement desire for revenge, hatred, or even scorn are punishable by God too, just as are those other evil acts.”
The Gospels say the same thing. When people came to Jesus and told Him about a certain disaster that happened to other people, they seemed to imply God was punishing some secret evil they had done. However, Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
He makes the psalmist’s point. While unpunished evil is not desirable, and the killer (O. J. or otherwise) needs to be found and proven guilty, personal hatred, vindictiveness, or a “I would never do that” pride is evil also. Instead, the psalmist invites us to, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”
We may not see the day that the guilty are punished here, but if we trust God, their judgment day will come and we will not only miss seeing it then, but be glad we are not standing in the crowd on that terrible day when the guilty finally receive what they deserve!