Justice for the Poor (14-12-22)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 95:6-7
Come, let us bow down in worship,
let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture,
the flock under his care.
Bible Reading: Isaiah 11:1-4
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord,
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
I wonder what the word ‘justice’ conjures up in your mind. Maybe an image of a judge in a gown, presiding over a courtroom, banging his gavel and sentencing the accused to prison. Or worse still, putting on his black cap and sentencing the prisoner to death.
Justice in today’s world can often appear partisan, favouring one group over another. Justice, especially in the media, can also seem to be based on outward appearances and hearsay. In contrast Isaiah tells us that the Lord will not judge by what he sees with his eyes or decide by what he hears with his ears. God sees our hearts and he will judge with righteousness, with wisdom and with understanding.
There are some beautiful words about justice in the hymn, ‘Here is love’ ocean’ which say this,
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And heaven’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.
One day we will all face God as judge. At that time our only defence will be our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus and that God’s justice is perfect, stemming from a heart of love.
Whilst our images of justice are often harsh, true justice cuts both ways, setting the innocent free, protecting the vulnerable and favouring the poor and needy. Isaiah tells us this about the coming Messiah, ‘With righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor. In the decisions that we make in life, let us follow his example and judge with righteousness and favour the poor and needy.
Father God, thank you that your justice is righteous and perfect.
Help me to follow your example and judge in favour of the poor and needy.
Here is love, vast as the ocean.