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Lesson 4

Justice and Mercy in the Old Testament: Part 2

Memory Text / Ezekiel 47:9 (NIV)


Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be
large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt
water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live.
What connection do you see between water and life?
1. Water is essential for life.
2. You can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three
weeks without food.
3. Our bodies are composed mainly of water.
4. Our brains are 75% water.
5. Without water, we wouldnt even exist!


What kind of water did Jesus offer the woman at the well in Samaria?
1. He offered her living water.
John 4:13-14New International Version (NIV)
Jesus answered, Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but
whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give
them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
2. The living water that Jesus gives us brings life to those who are dead in trespasses
and sins.
3. And this life is not just a few more years in this dreary world, it is eternal life in

Good Works
Read Eph 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of
yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. [R]
What is the connection between salvation by grace through faith and good
1. Salvation by grace through faith results in good works.
2. But good works do not result in salvation.
3. We are saved by grace alone (Gods part) through faith alone (our part) in Christ
alone (the only Savior who can save us).
4. Gods grace is His unmerited favor toward mankind in giving us His Son to die for
our sins.
5. Our faith accepts the fact that we are sinners that cannot save ourselves, and
trusts in the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God.
6. When Gods hand of grace, reaching down to fallen man, grasps our hand of faith
reaching up to accept His grace, we are justified, forgiven, cleansed, declared
righteous in the courts of heaven.
7. God gives us eternal life, fills us with His Spirit, and makes us new creatures in
8. The Holy Spirit brings us the fruit of the Spirit beginning with agape love.
9. And as we fall in love with Christ, we will live in obedience to Him.
John 14:15New American Standard Bible (NASB)
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

What do you think Paul had in mind by good works?

1. How would you define good and evil, or good works and evil works?
2. Who determines what is good and evil? Is it a matter of opinion.
3. Those who believe in relativism would have us believe there is no absolutes when
it comes to right and wrong.
4. But if you believe the Bible, there is only One who is good and that is God.
5. God has moral absolutes which He has given to us in His word.
6. As Creator, God sets the parameters of good and evil, right and wrong.
7. God has given us the one great principle of love because God is love.
8. Jesus summarized all the laws of God in two great commandments: Love the Lord
thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul, and strength; and love your neighbor as

9. So good works would be living in obedience to Gods commandments, loving God

supremely, and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

What does it mean that God prepared beforehand that we should walk in
good works?
1. It means that God planned it out beforehand.
2. Gods plan was that all those who accepted Christ as their Savior would grow to be
more like Him.
Romans 8:29 (NKJV)
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image
of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
3. Gods plan is to conform the elect, the redeemed, to the image of His Son.
4. The more we become like Jesus, the more we will love like Jesus loved.
River of Life
Compare the descriptions of Ezekiel and John of the River of Life. (Rev 22:12 and Ezekiel 47:12)
Revelation 22:1-2 (NKJV)
22 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its
street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore
twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the
tree were for the healing of the nations.
Ezekiel 47:12 (NKJV)
Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of
trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail.
They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the
sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.

What similarities do you see here to Johns description of the New


Where do these two rivers originate? (Ezek 47:1)

1. This is an artists depiction of the land of Israel according to Ezekiels

2. We have the temple in Jerusalem with water flowing from the temple out
to the east.
3. Of course, Jerusalem is built on a mountain so you have to go up to

4. Water from the temple would flow down to the Jordan river and on down
into the Dead Sea.
5. In its current state, the Dead Sea is so salty that in cannot support any
6. Ezekiels description is that the river that comes from the temple brings
life all along the river and a great abundance of fish.
7. Apparently, the dead sea is no longer dead.
8. Ezekiel wrote at he time of Judahs exile in Babylon. The temple had
been destroyed.
9. So this vision was symbolic of what God wanted to do for His people.
10. He wanted to be for them a source of life rather than death.

What symbolism is there in the fact that both of these rivers come from the
throne room?
1. God is the source of life.
2. He is the creator of life; He is the sustainer of life.
3. Without God there would be nothing at all.
4. Our physical life depends directly on the provision of God.
5. The water we drink, the food we eat, the sunshine that warms our planet, the air
we breathe, the companionship of friends and animals, the beauty of nature, are all
gifts from the gracious hand of God.
6. God is also the source of our spiritual life.
7. Without Gods love and grace in sending His Son to die for our sins, we would
remain dead in trespasses and sins.
8. It is the doing and dying of Jesus that opens the gates of salvation to all who
9. The redemption that is in Jesus Christ brings us not only life eternal, but adoption
as Sons into the family of God.

How can we be a river of life to those around us?

1. Jesus calls us to be salt and light to a world that is perishing in darkness.
2. Salt needs to be mixed with the food it is to preserve before it can stop it from
3. Jesus calls us the salt of the earth, but it is only His blood that can keep the lost
from perishing.
4. It is through His people that He has commissioned the saving power of His blood
to be proclaimed.
5. As we make disciples for Him, He can redeem others from eternal death as He has
redeemed us.
6. Jesus also calls us the light of the world.
7. We dare not hide our lamp under a bushel.
8. But our light is like the light of the moon: it simply reflects the light of the sun.
9. And our good works reflect the goodness of God.
10. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).
Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and
glorify your Father in heaven.

Give me Liberty


Read Lukes account of how Jesus began His ministry with an

emancipation proclamation. (Luke 4:18-19)
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim
good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the
prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to
proclaim the year of the Lords favor.
Who are the poor, the prisoners, the blind, and the oppressed?
1. We studied this text a couple of weeks ago, but lets review it again.
2. This is a description of fallen humanity over whom Satan now has dominion as the
god of this world.
3. Without Christ, we are the poor: we have no eternal home, no inheritance, no
permanence, no value.
4. Without Christ, we are prisoners of Satan, enslaved to sin, under the death decree,
without hope.
5. As prisoners, we are blind to the truth, unable to see the goodness of God, the
truth of His word, the hope of salvation.

6. We are oppressed by the devil, slaves of our own sinful natures, guilty, twisted,
7. And of course it is every other person around us who also needs Jesus.
What is the meaning of the last part of verse 19 where Jesus says He will
proclaim the year of the Lords favor? (Isa 61:2)
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of
our God;To comfort all who mourn,
1. Many theologians understand this to be a reference to the year of Jubilee.
2. What happened on the year of Jubilee?
3. Debts were canceled. Prisoners were freed. Land was returned to those who
owned it. People returned home.
4. How would this year of Jubilee apply to Jesus emancipation proclamation for
5. First, debts were canceled:
6. When we are justified, our sins are canceled.
7. This is equivalent to canceling our debt: Forgive us our debts as we forgive our
8. Second, prisoners were freed:
9. When we are justified, God frees us from Satans dominion.
Romans 6:14 (NKJV)
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but
under grace.

10. The gates of hell shall not prevail against us.

11. Third, we can return home.
12. We dont have to live the prodigals life that inevitably leads to the pig pen.
13. In our Fathers house are many mansions.
14. When we have Jesus, we have the assurance that we have a dwelling place with
Him in His eternal kingdom.
15. There is another line in Isa 61:2 that Jesus does not quote in His emancipation
Isaiah 61:2 (NKJV)
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
16. What do you think is the day of vengeance of our God?
17. When Jesus comes again it will be a day of vengeance for the wicked but the year
of Jubilee for the righteous.
Justice, Mercy, Love

Read Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly, To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God? [R]


What does it means to act justly?

1. Justice is getting what we deserve.
2. What synonyms can your think of for justice?
3. Fairness, equity, evenhandedness, impartiality, objectivity, neutrality, honesty,
righteousness, morality.
4. When we think of justice for the criminal we think of getting convicted for his
crime and being punished.
5. When we think of justice for the innocent we think of getting acquitted and set
6. But our sense of justice must be based on Gods morality, on His righteousness,
not on our own opinion of right and wrong.
7. Justice is being fair to all and not favoring one over another.
8. Justice requires equal access, equal opportunity, equal protection, it does not
require equal outcome.
9. Justice is getting what you deserve, mercy is not getting what you deserve, and
grace is getting what you dont deserve.


What does it mean to love mercy?


L:oving mercy means being merciful to others.

This is particularly important for those who are followers of Jesus.
God has been merciful to us and He expects us to treat others that way too.
In Lukes rendition of the sermon on the Mount, Jesus says:

Luke 6:36 (NKJV)

Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.
5. Like the Good Samaritan, we should have mercy and compassion on those God
brings across our path that are in need.
6. We dont always have to demand our rights.
7. There are many times when we will be treated unfairly and unjustly.
2 Timothy 3:12 (NKJV)
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
8. Jesus tells us to be merciful and pray for those who spitefully use you and
persecute you.
9. Rather than seeking revenge we should be merciful to those who hate us.
Matthew 5:44-45 (NKJV)
But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to
those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute
you,[a] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven;
10. God is merciful to those who hate Him; and when were merciful to those who
hate us, we show ourselves to be His children.


What does it mean to walk humbly with your God?

1. First, what does Micah mean by your God?
2. Is it just any God you happen to have?
3. Is the Muslim Allah ok? How about the Hindu Brahma? Is any old idol ok?
4. Obviously not. Your God must be the true God, the God of creation, redemption,
and restoration.
5. The True God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the only acceptable God presented in
6. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
7. Second, our God must be the Personal God of the Bible who forgives our sins
through the blood of Jesus Christ His Son.
Acts 4:12King James Version (KJV)
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under
heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
8. Third, humility requires that we recognize who God is and who we are.
9. God is the supreme sovereign of the universe, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
10. He is Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer, Restorer.
11. He is eternal, self existent, transcendent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.
12. He alone is holy. He defines right and wrong. He is the Lawgiver.
13. We are sinners saved by grace.
14. God has rescued us from eternal death and given us eternal life.
15. Amos asks this important question:
Amos 3:3 (NKJV)
Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
16. To walk humbly with our God means to agree with Him.
17. Agree that His ways are just and true and right.
18. Agree that his law is perfect.
19. Agree that His will is what is best for us.
20. Agree that our purpose is to bring glory to Him and enjoy Him forever.
21. Agree that our highest calling is to love the Lord with all our heart mind soul and
strength and love our neighbor as our self.

In our lesson this week we have seen the breath of God transform a valley
of dry bones into a great army; we have seen a river from Gods throne
transform a barren desert and lifeless waters into Life-filled places; and we
hear Gods call for us to be salt and light in a perishing world of darkness to
bring life wherever we go.
At the beginning of His ministry, Jesus declared that He was here to fulfill
Isaiahs prophecy that the Anointed One would set the oppressed at liberty.

The OT jubilee year will find its ultimate fulfillment in what Christ has done
to save us from sin.
We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, but
salvation by faith is never alone. Gods plan is that it is always

accompanied by good works as Gods Spirit conforms us to the image of

These good works put into practice the commandments of God: loving God
supremely and loving others as ourselves.
The prophet Micah give a simple recipe for successful living: act justly, love
mercy, and walk humbly with God.
Walking humbly with God begins with recognizing who He is and who we
are, thankfully accepting His love, grace, and forgiveness; allowing His
Spirit to transform us; and living in obedience to Him.
Will you accept Gods prescription for a successful life today by acting
justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with your God?