“You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed,
so mere people can no longer terrify them.” Psalm 10:18
It may seem, at times, as though the just are forgotten and the wicked just get away with any and everything. It may even appear as though the righteous are forgotten while evil ones continue to plot and plan. The Psalmist David felt that way and cried out to the Lord to right the wrongs and set the record straight. At times, just like David, it can be hard for us to see that God is still at work and on His throne of justice, and that at the right time, He knows how and when to turn the tables.
Could it be that God is so rich in mercy that He’s not so quick to execute judgement, but is longsuffering and patient, giving people plenty of opportunity to turn it around? I would submit that this is exactly the case. James 3:17, along with plenty of other scriptures, tells us how God prefers “mercy over justice.”
It looked like Zacchaeus was getting away with it. He had been over-collecting taxes from the hard-working people of Jerusalem for a very long time, but one day his encounter with Jesus changed all of that. Jesus invited himself over, and somewhere in the course of that meal together, Zacchaeus’ heart completely turned around. It may have looked, at times, like God had “forgotten the little guy” in regard to all the injustice Zacchaeus had done, but it was actually God’s mercy at work.
At the right moment, God knows when and how to switch things up, as we see in Genesis chapter 48 as Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, the youngest before the oldest. He is the Master at “making the last first.”