Journey of Justice Part #8

Posted: June 6, 2012 in Pastor Posts
Isaiah 58:

“Cry aloud; do not hold back;
lift up your voice like a trumpet;
declare to my people their transgression,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
Yet they seek me daily
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that did righteousness
and did not forsake the judgment of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments;
they delight to draw near to God.
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not?
Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure,
and oppress all your workers.
Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to hit with a wicked fist.
Fasting like yours this day
will not make your voice to be heard on high.
Is such the fast that I choose,
a day for a person to humble himself?
Is it to bow down his head like a reed,
and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?
Will you call this a fast,
and a day acceptable to the Lord?

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you take away the yoke from your midst,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.
11 And the Lord will guide you continually
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.

13 “If you turn back your foot from the Sabbath,
from doing your pleasure on my holy day,
and call the Sabbath a delight
and the holy day of the Lord honorable;
if you honor it, not going your own ways,
or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly;
14 then you shall take delight in the Lord,
and I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Thoughts on Isaiah 58:

If the church in America today resembles Micah 6 (see last JOJ post), it is a dead ringer for Isaiah 58. Many people have bought into a false religiosity that they pride themselves in. There is prayer, there is fasting, there is a false humility, there are moments of spiritual commitment – but only moments.

In Isaiah 58, the people ask why God is not pleased with their religiosity. I can hear the same kind of cry today. “What’s up God? Where’s my blessing? I’ve attended church, I have been reading my Bible, I did a 3 day fast.” All the while, their hearts betray them. There is no compassion. There is no love. There is no mercy. The heart of God does not seem to be represented in the hearts of the people. Church attendance, Bible reading, fasting, often amounts to simply spiritual leverage to get God to do what we want. We have become entitled and selfish. Christianity is all about what God can do for me and has nothing to do about what God wants me to do Him or for someone else.

The church lacks righteousness, justice, mercy and love in a significant way. In the circles I am in, I find people are often more focused on being right than being righteous. Justice, mercy and love are not considered as important as orthodoxy. If true righteousness is disadvantaging oneself for the sake of the community, as is defined by Bruce Waltke in the article Righteousness in Proverbs (see the link at the bottom of this post), we are a very unrighteous people. We do not disadvantage ourselves anyone. Even our marriages and families are leveraged for our own personal gain. And yet, how many places in Scripture are we told to love our spouses and kids vs. how many places are we told to love the poor? I do not think this means we should ignore our families to love the poor. However, as we lovingly sacrifice for our families, our families should be lovingly sacrificing for the poor. As we lovingly sacrifice for our church family, our church family should be lovingly sacrificing for the poor. Because when we do not love, I believe God is silenced. He is silenced in our churches by our lack of worshiping God in lieu of worshiping self. We need to love God how He asks to be loved. We need to prioritize that which God prioritizes.

Written by Pastor Dave Bertolini


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s