Crushed in the Gate

I have seen the fool taking root, but suddenly I cursed his dwelling. His children are far from safety; they are crushed in the gate, and there is no one to deliver them.
Job 5:3-4
Crushed in the Gate
There are many rights and privileges we have as Americans.  One which we have but hope we never need is the right to counsel.  If we are ever accused of a crime our constitution guarantees us the right to a lawyer to represent us, and if we can’t afford one, one will be appointed.  Many countries do not have such guarantees.  Secret police, kangaroo courts, and cooked books, are the norm for many people in oppressive and dictatorial regimes.  People accused of a crime know the verdict before they ever go to court, guilty! Even if they are innocent.  This is what is meant by “crushed in the gate” in our reading today.  It simply means to be left without an advocate to defend you.  In the civic realm ruled by governments and the law this is quite upsetting, but in matters of the spirit and salvation this is truly crushing.  When it comes to defending ourselves before God, we have no defense.  We are guilty.  We deserve no mercy.  Our punishment, death, is just.  Yet we are not left alone, without Council, without an Advocate. John tells us, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 2:1) So what does our Advocate do? Does He use some slick lawyer trick, find a loophole in the Law?  Not at all! When the devil accuses and says we are guilty and death is the sentence, Christ says yes, and I have served that sentence. “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) Christ took our sins and the punishment for them and carried them to the cross.  So that when we stand on judgement day the Father does not see us who deserve death, but Christ who conquered death for us.  He does not need to enact justice upon us, for the sentence has already been carried out on Calvary. We are not crushed in the gate, but the gates are opened, and we are welcomed in.    
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