In a sermon titled “The Beauty of Biblical Justice,” pastor and author Tim Keller said: “In the West, when we think of justice, we think of individual rights. . . . Biblical justice has a different trajectory. Biblical justice means interwovenness, interdependence, bringing individuals to see that our stuff isn’t just ours. . . . [Justice] means taking the threads of your life—your emotions, your time, your body, your physical presence, your money—and plunging them into the lives of other people.”
To wait for God’s justice, then, is not primarily about punishment or even fairness. To wait for justice is to wait for shalom, a state of peace, blessedness, and wellbeing in which God is obeyed and worshiped. That day will come when sin and death are finally and fully vanquished.
Psalm 37 describes what waiting for justice feels like in everyday life. We are not to worry or become angry when it seems like sinners are rewarded for their wrong choices and actions. Instead, we are to be still and wait patiently for the Lord, because His justice is certain (v. 7; Isa. 30:18).
We shouldn’t fret over the apparent success of evil; it’s not real and won’t last (vv. 1–2). Instead, we should draw close to God and do as He leads. “He will give you the desires of your heart” because then your heart is in the right place (v. 4). To trust Him is to choose wisely, to see through the fraud of temptations to the truth of righteous obedience.
Those who do so will be vindicated and rewarded for their patience! As for people who choose and act otherwise, they will be destroyed. Only those who hope in the Lord “will inherit the land” (vv. 8–9).
APPLY THE WORD
Both fretting over the “success” of the wicked and worrying about everyday needs show a lack of faith (see Matt. 6:25–34). Instead of anxiety, we have the privilege of taking these needs to God in prayer (Phil. 4:6; 1 Peter 5:7). When you are tempted to complain or worry, take that as a cue to pray for faith to wait on the Lord.