Archive for the ‘Justice’ Tag

Fire   2 comments

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This is from Myabishai’s Blog:

“For wickedness burned like a fire,

consuming briers and thorns;

it kindled the thickets of the forest,

and they swirled upward in a column of smoke.

Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts

the land was burned,

and the people became like fuel for the fire;

no one spared another.

They gorged on the right, but still were hungry,

and they devoured on the left, but were not satisfied;

they devoured the flesh of their own kindred;

Manasseh devoured Ephraim, and Ephraim Manasseh,

and together they were against Judah.

For all this his anger has not turned away;

his hand is stretched out still.

 

Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees,

who write oppressive statutes,

to turn aside the needy from justice

and to rob the poor of my people of their right,

that widows may be your spoil,

and that you may make the orphans your prey!

What will you do on the day of punishment,

in the calamity that will come from far away?

To whom will you flee for help,

and where will you leave your wealth,

so as not to crouch among the prisoners

or fall among the slain?

For all this his anger has not turned away;

his hand is stretched out still.” Isaiah 9.18-10.4 (NRSV)

The hunger of wickedness is never sated. It burns with a fire that consumes everything around until it finally turns back on the hungry ones themselves. In doing so, the wicked bring destruction upon themselves.

I had a frank conversation with some friends of mine from Cuba, concerning the death of Fidel Castro and the feelings of the people of Cuba. In the US, Castro had a reputation of infamy, but in Cuba, among the rich and poor alike, there were mixed feelings about his leadership. As harsh as his rule had been, he successfully kept much of the drug trade and human trafficking out of Cuba, especially in camparison to much of Central and parts of South America. Many of those other countries had political freedom at the cost of oppression by the wealthy. The concern was that these drug lords would sweep in to take over the nation.

The ancient philosopher Plato wrote that governments shift in cycles. We see all the time, one dictator replaced by another. The corruption of one party makes way for the corrupt leadership of the opposition when it finally rises. When the oppressed take up arms and become revolutionaries – beating, looting, and killing any who get between them and their justice, we are simply making way for the next oppressors.

Isaiah’s words of warning are not just for the rich. They are for everyone. If we let our hunger for possessions rule us instead of a hunger for righteousness, we will lose our way and find ourselves on the path of wickedness. That path ends in flames and our own destruction. It is more than a problem of just wickedness and the quest for power, because, as Paul reminds us in Romans, we all fall short and are subject to temptation and corruption. If we simply eliminated everyone who had ever been wicked, we would have no one left.

I think the answer to avoiding this fiery judgment upon ourselves and our communities can be found in a simple piece of economic wisdom: Don’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry. What does that have to do with power and politics in our lives? It means we need to check our motives before seeking power. Those who feel insecure themselves often seek power over others and just as often end up being poor leaders. Whether you are running for political office or just thinking about having or raising children – you need to make sure you are secure enough yourself and “well fed” spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc… to be able to lead, nurture, and protect anyone else. It is only from this place of being full and satisfied, (which can only be fully realized in a relationship with God) that we find ourselves secure enough in our weakness to ask God for help instead of jumping in and trying to fix things ourselves… often taking us all out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Posted December 15, 2016 by Tim Shey in Uncategorized

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False Security   Leave a comment

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This is from the blog unseenprophet:

Here in the America, we live with a sense of false security. I think that other countries mock us and make fun because we feel like we are untouchable. After events such as 9/11 we realize that we are a little vulnerable, then we hear of “progress” in the retaliation and think, “No one will dare do that again.” We are self proclaimed as untouchable, but it just isn’t true. I don’t pretend to understand all that goes in to this, but the truth is that anyone can attack the U.S. at any time. In history, yes, we have been blessed and guarded by God. Is that the case today? I guess we really can’t know, but a brief look through the scriptures might give us a little insight. Though this be true, the reason for this post isn’t to discuss our national pride or security, but to warn the American Church of the same. Much like the American people, the Church has been given a false sense of security.

Generally speaking, the church in America is secure in our standing. We believe that we are not only in good standing with God, but in comparison to the rest of the world, the leaders in theology and doctrine. We believe that it is our responsibility to teach and train the pastors and leaders of the Church worldwide, when the truth is probably that we should be learning from them. Have we been deceived? Comfort and sustainability are not things that I see Jesus promising His followers. Looking throughout history, I don’t see that these are things that often accompany those who carry His name. Yet we have church buildings with thousands upon thousands of people attending at no cost other than a financial pledge (sometimes). We have somehow come to believe that the “American Dream” is ordained by Christ and sustaining a comfortable life is His will. After all, He has blessed us with abundance because He loves us.

Our abundance was never for us, but so that we can be a blessing to others. The truth is that our upper and upper middle class lives paycheck to paycheck, much in the same way as the lower working class. Why? Because we have taken on so much comfort and material “blessings” that our funds are all spoken for. I actually had a conversation with a person, who owned a pretty successful business, who stated that God would not want him to take food out of his children’s mouth to help someone in need. As dangerous of as statement that is to make, I find it interesting that the help would come from his food money and not his two car payments, maybe his recreational vehicles, beach condo, oversized home, and membership fees for his golf club.  This is exactly what Isiah wrote:

The Lord will enter into judgment
    with the elders and princes of his people:
“It is you who have devoured[f] the vineyard,
    the spoil of the poor is in your houses.
 What do you mean by crushing my people,
    by grinding the face of the poor?”
declares the Lord God of hosts. Isaiah 3:14-15

We claim that God wouldn’t want us to take food off of our tables for others, if this is true, He certainly wouldn’t want us to use the money He gave us to feed the poor to buy a boat.

This isn’t a post about finances and caring for the poor, but a post about the problem with our sense of security. The problem is that we even think this way. We believe these things, not realizing that what we are doing is even wrong. Our churches celebrate testimonies that are more like success stories than stories of Christ changing our lives. I rarely if ever see a testimony of a homeless man coming to faith and remaining homeless, but for Jesus. Testimonies of people who were once on the streets coming to faith and now being business owners or having a good job, a house, three kids and a dog.

So many of us point to the sky, warn “sinners” of the return of Jesus, examine wars and rumors of wars as a sign of the end of times, yet still live as a part of the world and all of it’s comforts. Yes, Jesus will return and set all things right. When He does, what will He have to say about the church in America? Have we been making disciples of Jesus, or have we been making disciples of the American church?

Zion and Babylon Compared