Justice, Discipline, and a Heart for the Poor


Giving up my comfort and complacency to serve the poor and needy will demonstrate a heart for God which will favour and not discipline.  Today we look at Isaiah 10, in which Israel was caught on the wrong end of this reality in their relationship with God…

1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised.
Isaiah 10:1-4

4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline…
Hebrews 12:4-5

Israel was in deep with the Lord for making unjust laws and depriving the poor of their rights. The most vulnerable in their land were suffering injustices, and so God’s anger was not turned away from them. It was, rather, turned completely toward them through the attack by the Assyrians.

Why didn’t Israel fight against their sin to the point of shedding their own blood? In other words, fighting to keep yourself from sinning against God is better than the discipline of God turned toward you.

Israel’s situation got worse before it got better. In fact, the wrath of God through the Assyrians left only a remnant of God’s people left to rebuild and restore their submission to the Lord. They hit rock bottom.

What value does the sin and injustice in your life have for you contrasted with the impact on others? Likely we are not involved in oppressing the poor and widows. Likely we are not involved in setting laws which oppress. Or are we?

The people of Israel did not stand up against their law makers or come to the aid of the oppressed. This was their responsibility in God’s eyes and they shirked it. And so, what parallel is there in my life today?

Not only do I often go my own way, I can also overlook my role in coming to the aid of the poor and needy and oppressed in my world. God expects me to do more.

My comfort and complacency is at risk.

Which brings me back to the point of Hebrews 12: fighting to keep yourself from sinning against God is better than the discipline of God turned toward you. Giving up my comfort and complacency to serve the poor and needy will demonstrate a heart for God which will favour and not discipline…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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