August 13, 1996
“Outrage,” a recent best-selling book written by a prosecuting attorney, explains five reasons why O. J. Simpson should not have been acquitted. The author describes incompetency by the prosecution. He claims if the evidence against the defendant had been properly presented and handled, the jury would have brought back a guilty verdict.
During a radio interview, this author also said not one reader had offered any disagreement or protest to his statements. The biggest question has been, if O. J. is guilty, how can he walk around smiling? The author says, “I only deal with facts, but if I must speculate, it would have to be that the man is self-possessed and has somehow justified what he has done by thinking Nicole and her friend got what they deserved.”
Some still defend the former football star but in either case, all have to admit a great deal of unfairness and injustice prevails in our world. Where are the competent legal counselors? Where are the judges who can fairly deal with guilty people? The law is such that many criminals are given greater rights than victims. Do not our hearts cry out for justice?
So does the heart of God. Throughout the Old Testament, He exhorted His people to treat the poor fairly, care for widows and orphans, be kind to outsiders and swiftly deal with anyone who violated His laws.
In some eras and under some kings, justice was upheld, but for the most part, human failure stains Biblical history. The innocent suffered and no one but the prophets held oppressors accountable. Even leaders became wealthy by taking advantage of weaker people. Their prosperity was a puzzle to the poor. Why did God allow wicked people such freedom?
David of Israel also had good reason to wonder why. He had been anointed king yet the former king, Saul, would not give up the throne. Instead, Saul continually tried to kill David.
However, David did not fight back. He trusted God, expressing his trust in Psalm 37: “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. Trust in the LORD and do good.... Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.... Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will... make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
“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. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace.”
Although David later became king, he already knew justice was a responsibility of leadership and that God eventually would hold unjust people accountable for their actions. In his own situation, Saul was not doing his job, yet David knew God could be trusted. As for himself, he needed to do right, not become anxious or angry.
Today, the title of that book, “Outrage,” expresses how many people respond when justice is ignored or miscarried. The author of Psalm 37 expresses how God’s people should respond. We can do it because God Himself responds the same way. Verse thirteen says He “laughs at the wicked, for He knows their day is coming.” Our rage may pressure our leaders to be more just, but should evil continue to prevail, God’s justice will someday pronounce the true verdict.