Casey Anthony and Our Humanity
Ecclesiastes 8: 11-13 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong. Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God. Yet because the wicked do not fear God, it will not go well with them, and their days will not lengthen like a shadow. (NIV)
A child is dead. An innocent life snuffed out. The outrage is expected. The demands for justice are understandable. It is only human nature. The child is dead and she shouldn't be. A nation gathers around their televisions and watch with bloodlust building inside of them. Evidence is provided, the jury is sequestered, and the talking heads do what they do best they talk. They talk for years about the case at it unravels before us. They form opinions and so do we. Then the verdict is read and the mother is acquitted. The bloodlust boils over and we are outraged. We need to be very careful and guard our hearts beloved. This is fertile soil for the enemy to plant his lies.
This devotional is not intended to rehash or retry Casey Anthony. It is intended to deal with the aftermath. The reactions from Christians has been concerning on many fronts. First and foremost we need to remind ourselves that we do not actually know what happened in Florida to Caylee. We can form an opinion but realize that more often than not those opinions are derived from the emotions generated from the horrific fact that Caylee was killed. It certainly is not derived from any knowledge of what actually occurred. When things cause us to question we need to remember who is on the throne:
Who is able to advise the Spirit of the L ord ? Who knows enough to give him advice or teach him? Has the L ord ever needed anyone's advice? Does he need instruction about what is good? Did someone teach him what is right or show him the path of justice? Isaiah 40: 13-14 (NLT)
God is all about justice, even when we think it is lacking. The reality for Christians is that they do not have to worry about what actually happened in Florida because we know that God is fully aware. We never have to doubt that the God we serve is omniscient:
"Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don't speak with such arrogance! For the L ord is a God who knows what you have done; he will judge your actions. 1Samuel 2: 3 (NLT)
Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. Hebrews 4: 13 (NLT)
Additionally, while we were not in that Florida swamp, God was. He is everywhere beloved. The God we serve is also omnipresent. The Psalmist teaches us:
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night-- but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. Psalm 139: 7-12 (NLT)
Do we forget the God we serve? Is there something that happens in His creation that He is unaware of? Is there somewhere in His creation that He cannot go? Of course not. Do we know better than God? Can we advise Him? Of course not. But there is that pesky human nature. That nature that can tend to forget God and think that we know better. Or that we have some corner of the truth that somehow has eluded Him. The Bible is amazing in so many ways but one is that no matter what situation we face on earth, God knew we were going to face it. Not only was He aware of it but He made sure to address it in His Word so we would not have to guess as to how He wants us to carry ourselves. The key verses today seem to be written specifically for the disappointment and outrage some feel following the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. There are a couple of points God is making to us.
First of all, it is situations such as this that allow the enemy to plant doubt in our hearts against God. We may not realize it but when we question events here on earth as to their justice we in fact doubt that God is in control. We elevate the perceived injustice above God. The key verse states that when a sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, men start to scheme to do wrong. The sentence is the justice imposed for the commission of a crime. But we need to guard our hearts and not be so quick to deal in death and judgment.
"The L ord says, 'Am I not storing up these things, sealing them away in my treasury? I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.' Deuteronomy 32: 34-35 (NLT)
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the L ord . Romans 12: 19 (NLT)
We are not omniscient. We are not omnipresent. Thankfully the God we serve is. Sometimes it may seem that there is injustice but we do not actually know everything God does. Even if our assumptions are correct, the appearance of the wicked prospering is merely an appearance. The Psalmist also wondered what we do in our human nature:
But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don't have troubles like other people; they're not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. "What does God know?" they ask. "Does the Most High even know what's happening?" Look at these wicked people--enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. Psalm 73: 2-12 (NLT)