Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. Isaiah 1:17 NKJV
During these times of civil unrest across America. It is essential that we are instructed by the word of God, since opinions vary on what is right or wrong. Due process under the law includes investigations and input from various law enforcement agencies, often taking excessive time to reach a verdict, and in many instances reaching a verdict that is simply unjust.
The prophet Isaiah speaking a word from the mouth of God, says we are to Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow. How can we seek justice as the church of God? One way is to use our voice to speak out against injustice in such a way the justice prevails. Recently a faith filled millennial sent me a link with a headline that read “When Christians won’t acknowledge racism, protest becomes church.” The article was written by a once devout Christian who is a theologian by seminary training. The essence of her point of view is that not only has the church been complicit in her silence, but in an effort to avoid rocking the boat, there was intentionality in batting down any conversation on the topic. So the will to seek justice was overtaken by the seeming comfort of avoiding offenses.
Yet the Bible instructs the people of God to seek justice and rebuke the oppressor. God made it clear that personal comfort was not a viable option, because to rebuke the oppressor eliminates the prospect of being non-offensive. In the mind of God this has nothing to do with offense, and everything to do with equality for all human beings, whether they are rich or poor, black or white, educated or uneducated, high ranking or the least among us. Therefore, we are to defend the fatherless and plead for the widow.
As people who obey the word of God, we are compelled to speak up and speak out for those who are marginalized in society. What if you are a member of the marginalized class or race in society? We who are in Christ know that we are more than conquerors through Him that loves us, and so we put on the whole armor of God to fight against the wiles of the devil, for we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:16-17. Because the Lord is the Spirit who gives us liberty or freedom, we cannot be marginalized as citizens of the Kingdom of God. Our faith in God makes us exempt from bondage as we obey His word. That is why we are instructed to rebuke the oppressor, while at the same time never taking on the ways of the oppressor according to Proverbs 3:31, that says Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways; We are further encouraged in 2 Corinthians 4:13-15 to speak as a body, when the Apostle Paul writes; And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
We are not to live in fear nor should we seek comfort, but rather we are to seek justice. As we become a voice for those who have no voice on the margins of society. There has been a seismic shift in our nation towards those who are inclined to seek justice. The Bible is clear that justice is the will of God. My prayer is that justice will be swift in places where the wheels of justice previously turned slow, and often went off the rails. It is time for the church to shine, as we cry loud and spare not in our rebuke of an oppressive system that has been in motion since 1619, or 401 years in the making. Which means, the systemic roots of oppression run deep in our institutions of healthcare, housing, education, finance, commerce, voting rights and more.
Are we undefiled before God our Father In this? According to James we have a significant role to play in caring for widows and the fatherless; Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
We are instructed to defend the fatherless, plead for widows, visit orphans and widows in their trouble, all as we keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Seeking justice goes beyond the criminal justice system. Jesus tells a parable in Luke 18 about a widow who says in verse 3; Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.” The primary objective of the widow was to get justice from her adversary. We must rightly identify our adversary in the fight for justice. Jesus then invokes the power of prayer in seeking justice; Hear the word of the Lord — And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
Even the unjust can bend towards justice when we cry out to God day and night. So let us seek justice on our knees, and by speaking up for those who do not have a voice. May we defend the fatherless and protect the widows in our community. Let us learn to do good together as we keep the faith.