Love is Justice in Action!

justice-1What should I think about all your sacrifices? says the LORD. I’m fed up with entirely burned offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts. I don’t want the blood of bulls, lambs, and goats. When you come to appear before me, who asked this from you, this trampling of my temple’s courts? Stop bringing worthless offerings. Your incense repulses me. New moon, sabbath, and the calling of an assembly– I can’t stand wickedness with celebration! I hate your new moons and your festivals. They’ve become a burden that I’m tired of bearing. When you extend your hands, I’ll hide my eyes from you. Even when you pray for a long time, I won’t listen. Your hands are stained with blood. Wash! Be clean! Remove your ugly deeds from my sight. Put an end to such evil; learn to do good. Seek justice: help the oppressed; defend the orphan; plead for the widow. (Isa 1:11-17 CEB)

Love isn’t just a feeling; Love is an action. Yahweh was over Israel, tired of their incessant religious falsehood. To put it in a modern day context, the people of God attended church; they worshiped, prayed, did all the religious things.  From the outside, they appeared to love God. The problem was that they didn’t much care for their neighbors.  After all, they were different. Refugees, immigrants, single moms on welfare, LGBTQ, juveniles, and Muslims. The people in Isaiah may have even been like the Pharisee of Jesus’ day that prayed, “God, I thank you that I’m not like everyone else–crooks, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector.” (Luk 18:11 CEB)

Such self-righteousness, be it in Isaiah’s time or Jesus’ day or even today, is obnoxious to God. God’s love goes far beyond the four walls of Isaiah’s temple, the synagogue or the church. Fortunately for the people of God, that love gives them the opportunity for change. “Be clean! Remove your ugly deeds from my sight. Put an end to such evil; learn to do good. Seek justice: help the oppressed; defend the orphan; plead for the widow.”

Published by Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.

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