Ps 17:1 Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry!
Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit!
Here is what the gospel gives us: the ability to really do this, even when justice is against us personally. If you think you have a just cause because of your personal character, think again, because you must measure yourself against Jesus and His moral teachings and His level of obedience. Apart from Him your cause is not just. We may say now that we have a just cause, but a Psalm 51 confession is lurking somewhere in our past or our future. Christ has fulfilled justice on our behalf, and we can pray free from the deceit that we are personally just. Because we trust in Christ, we have a just cause before God. His eyes behold the right because we do not stand alone – we stand with the lamb who was slain as our advocate.
I can even say that I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress (Psalms 17:3), because I confess Christ and Him crucified.
In Genesis 43-44, we read the story of Joseph’s reconciliation with his brothers. We always want to use Joseph as the figure we identify with as and from whom we take our application. But in general we are not Joseph, the successful and righteous one. We are the rotten unrighteous brothers who wait for a lifetime for justice to come down on us. We do not know that our Joseph is waiting to shower us with mercy and favor. We only know that the hammer is coming down. But God waits on high to have compassion upon us, and against justice, to rescue us from the worst of life’s famines and terrors. Despite ourselves, God views us as precious family and He longs for reconciliation. He is the One who cries hot tears of joy to see us restored to relationship with Him, while abundantly providing for us. Joseph embodies God’s feelings towards us in the midst of our terrible history against Him.
So you see how this works: Joseph’s brothers’ cause was not just, but Joseph’s cause was just. They simply got caught up in the fulfillment of justice for his sake. His just cause was to shower them with mercy and to see God’s providence in the way things worked out. Even so, our cause is not just, but because Jesus Christ loves us greatly, we are caught up in His just cause. His perfect mercy and will is that we should be lavished with grace and showered with kindness.