“For I proclaim the name of the Lord: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He.” Deuteronomy 32:3-4
God is holy. God is also just. What does it mean that He is just? God is perfectly righteous in how He treats His creatures. He doesn’t show partiality (Acts 10:34). God has given us His law in His Word and commands obedience to it. It is His perfect, righteous standard. God is faithful to uphold His law. He is the just judge. He is just in giving blessing and reward (Hebrews 6:10) for obedience. God is also just in carrying out punishment (Colossians 3:25). God is righteous in carrying out vengeance against oppressors (Romans 12:19). He commands that others not be mistreated (Zechariah 7:10).
In Deuteronomy 31, Moses passed the torch of leading Israel to Joshua. He also gave needed and helpful instruction to Joshua and the people. Moses commanded the Levites in verses 26-29 to take the Book of the Law and put it beside the ark of the covenant. It would be a witness against them. For Moses knew that Israel was a rebellious and stiff necked people. He predicted their further rebellion against God after his death. He said in verse 29, “For I know that after my death you will become utterly corrupt, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you. And evil will befall you in the latter days, because you will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger through the work of your hands.” So, Moses called the people together and spoke the words of his song to them. We find his song in chapter 32.
Notice how in verses 3-4 of his song, Moses gives praise and the ascription of greatness to God. The living God is great and greatly to be praised. Consider what else Moses proclaimed:
- God is the Rock, which God is referred to six times as such in this chapter. He is immutable and immovable. God is the one His people can trust as an everlasting foundation.
- All of His works are perfect. Consider His work of creation. It was all very good (Genesis 1:31).
- All of His ways are righteous and just. His providence is to the praise of the glory of his wisdom, power, justice, goodness and mercy (WCF 5.1). There is no injustice in Him.
Moses said these things to preserve the honor of God in light of his people’s wickedness. He did so to show forth God’s holiness, contrasted with their being unholy. He also did so to demonstrate that God was just in how He dealt with His people.
Beloved, God is just. Praise Him that He is also merciful. We, like Israel, are rebellious and stiff necked. As miserable sinners, we justly deserve His most severe condemnation and judgment. God can’t merely overlook our sin, or He wouldn’t be just. But God, who is rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4), sent Jesus to live a perfect, righteous life, fulfilling the law. Jesus suffered and died “once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). In putting forth Jesus as our propitiation, God vindicated His righteousness, ensuring that He remains just, even as He becomes “the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:26) Christ “fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.” (WCF 8.5)
Though some stand, and will stand in fear and hatred of God’s law and justice, God’s people have much reason to be joyful and thankful that God is just and has given us His law. This is a wonderful and glorious attribute of His. Even in times like this, where wickedness, violence, and evil rage stronger every day, let God being just give you comfort. Though many may overlook sin, let it fester, excuse it, cower to it, or in other ways not deal with it, God is the just judge. His justice will be carried out. He will deal with it all. Let’s also daily remember that we have much reason to be thankful for in that our just God doesn’t deal with us as we deserve, but has extended much love, grace and mercy to us in Christ. Truly, like Moses, may we all ascribe greatness to our God! God is our Rock, even the rock of our salvation. Just and upright is He!