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Tuesday 28 June 2022

Guarding the Path's Of Justice

I have been told many times in the last couple of years that it is not a pastor's job to worry about unjust laws and that we should just shut up, submit and bear and grin it. Not in exactly those words, but essentially those sentiments. 

Now, this is a wrong position in so many ways, and for so many reasons. It rejects much of the Bible's teachings, and it rejects the grand traditions of the Church's involvement in influencing and transforming nations throughout history. THE CHURCH gave the West its conception of justice. The Bible makes a mockery of the position that we should not be concerned with justice. For example, Isaiah says this: 

Isaiah 1:1-17 –

“10 Hear the word of the Lord,
    you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
    you people of Gomorrah!
11 “What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of goats.

12 “When you come to appear before me,
    who has required of you
    this trampling of my courts?
13 Bring no more vain offerings;
    incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
    I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
    my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
    I am weary of bearing them.
15 When you spread out your hands,
    I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
    I will not listen;
    your hands are full of blood.
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
    remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17     learn to do good;
seek justice,
    correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
    plead the widow's cause.”

This was addressed to the nation of Judah whose corruption was so bad Isaiah compares them to Sodom. And what was it that could set them back on track? Isaiah is clear: “16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause.” Do what is right and challenge oppression.

It's not just a pastor's job to do this, it's every believer's job. Should we leave it up to the wicked to determine just laws? That very thought should be anathema to every believer. 

Proverbs 2 particularly gives some good insight into this. Verses 1-8 say:

My son, if you receive my words
    and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
    and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight
    and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
    he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
    and watching over the way of his saints.”

Look at especially verse 8, “guarding the paths of justice.” God's heart is to "guard the paths of justice". This is wisdom and he stores this wisdom up for his saints who seek it. He is a shield to those who walk in integrity, and who are those who walk in integrity? Those who care about justice:

"9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
    and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
    understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
    from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
    and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
    and who are devious in their ways" (Proverbs 2:9-15).

Righteous men are God's solution to wickedness. If the righteous do nothing, if the righteous do not care about justice, then wickedness will reign. 

We are to reflect our heavenly father and long for, and seek for justice. For some reason many Christians have forgotten this, but not all of us, and we have to remind people more and more of our responsibility to seek justice in our land. It is literally one of the most godly things you can do, because to be godly means to imitate God and apply his scriptures to our lives.

Why has the Church taken its eye off justice? Well Proverbs makes this clear: they are not getting their wisdom from God. Who could have guessed that pragmatically following the ways of the world in structuring and doing Church would rob the Church of its prophetic wisdom? Anyone who had read this passage, and other's like it, and had taken on board what it says. 



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