To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice—Prov. 21: 3.
We are to grow in love, and love is the principal thing; but before we can make much development in the cultivation of love, we must learn to be just, right, righteous. It is a proper presentation of the matter that is given in the proverb, that a man should be just before he is generous. It behooves the Lord's people, therefore, that they study this subject of justice continually and daily put into practice the lessons inculcated in the Divine Word. Such as get this proper foundation of character before they begin to build love will find that they are making progress properly. All love that is founded upon injustice or wrong ideas of righteousness is delusive, is not the love which the Lord will require as the test of discipleship.
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By justice righteousness, and by judgment true instruction are here meant. Sacrifice ordinarily means the good works of love, but here sacrifice means good works done contrary to justice and truth. The text does not mean that sacrifice is not desired by the Lord; nor that the good works of love, when in harmony with justice and truth, are not more pleasing to the Lord than justice and truth without the good works of charity. Rather the thought is that the Lord prefers to have us perform the works of righteousness and truth without sacrificial service to having us perform sacrificial service contrary to justice and truth.
Parallel passages: 1Sam. 15: 22; Psa. 1: 3; 15; 24: 3-5; 106: 3; 112: 4-8; Prov. 2: 5-20; Isa. 32: 16-18; Hos. 6: 6; Mic. 6: 6-8; Matt. 5: 20; John 14: 21-24; 15: 4, 5, 8; Rom. 6: 19-22; 14: 17-19; 1Cor. 13: 1-7.
Questions: Have I this week practiced truth and righteousness rather than sacrifice in violation of these? What were the circumstances and effects?
TO play through life a perfect part,
Unnoticed and unknown;
To seek no rest in any heart
Save only God's alone;
In little things to own no will,
To have no share in great,
To find the labor ready still,
And for the crown to wait;
Upon the brow to bear no trace
Of more than common care;
To write no secret in the face
For men to read it there;
The daily cross to clasp and bless
With such familiar zeal
As hides from all that not the less
Its daily weight you feel;
In toils that praise will never pay
To see your life go past;
To meet in every coming day
Twin sister of the last;
To hear of high, heroic things,
And yield them reverence due,
But feel life's daily offerings
Are far more fit for you;
To woo no secret, soft disguise,
To which self-love is prone;
Unnoticed by all other eyes,
Unworthy in your own;
To yield with such a happy art
That no one thinks you care,
Yet say to your poor bleeding heart,
How little you can bear;—
Oh! 'tis a pathway rough to choose,
A struggle hard to share,
For human pride would still refuse
The nameless trials there;
But since we know the gate is low
That leads to heavenly bliss,
What higher grace could God bestow
Than such a life as this!
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