Nabothian Justice



 Last Sunday’s homily was both well done and fascinating.  It had to do with whether or not the world is a 'just' place.  The answer, according to the Bible, is ‘yes.’  In the end, all is made right, all accounts are settled.  


Our pastor spoke from 1 Kings chapter 21, revisiting the story of two very evil people:   King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.  Out of petulance and greed, they had Naboth (your average home owner of the day) murdered.  Why?  So that they could seize his land and grow a vegetable garden close to their palace.  It's pretty much the dictionary definition of injustice.   


Enter the prophet Elijah whom God sends to Ahab and Jez to deliver this homily:  ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’”  Sure enough, Elijah’s prophecy comes true and Ahab and Jez get theirs.  Justice delivered. 


As I sat listening,  it occurred to me that, had I asked Naboth, 'Is there justice in the world?'  he’d likely have glanced at his executioner and replied with a rather cynical, ‘Um, what do YOU think?’  


My point is three fold.  A)  In the end, justice will prevail.  B) The 3 key words, ‘In the end' are critical to remember.   It's true that sometimes we see what a friend of mine calls, ‘instant karma’ when justice arrives immediately (i.e. 'karma-justice').   It's  what happens when, say,  the bank robber gets run over by a passing bus as he make his escape carrying a bag full of cash. (Roy:  'Dude, he just got seriously 'karma-justiced!  Randall:  Totally.) 


In my experience however, karma-justice is not the norm.   'Nabothian-justice' (justice delayed) is. More often than not, justice tends to arrive on divine (ie. a delayed) schedule.   If one doesn't believe that, one will be more prone to dispense justice immediately, perhaps even severely, and in so doing, ruining two lives at once.  I'd call that, 'applied-justice' which, like drugs, feels good at the time, but makes for a bad life in the end.   (Roy:  Dude, Jimmy applied some serious justice on some other dude....and is now doin' 10 years.'  Randall:  Totally). 


Maybe that is why faith looks a lot like patience.  Maybe that's why faith in the Lord looks a lot like waiting upon the Lord, letting justice happen, rather than having to make justice happen. 


If you’ve seen the film ‘The Revenant,’ you may recall the final scene, in which Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) remembers the words of his Pawnee friend Hikuc, which went like this:  ‘Revenge is in the Creator’s Hands.'   


Will justice prevail?  Naboth’s story answers that question with a resounding, ‘yes,' even though Naboth himself, likely had his doubts.  


I can't speak for you, but I find it comforting that God can and does work, in spite of our doubts. 


All the best,





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