Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Injustice System

In the midst of Israel's religiosity, festivals and sacrificial ceremonies, the prophet Isaiah calls for something different in Isaiah 58. The people fasted and prayed and wondered why God didn't show up. God responds through Isaiah with these words:
"Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?" He goes on to say, "Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?"

Apparently, Israel had all the right songs and worship services. They had all the right sacrifices. But their society had become ripe with injustice. God had a different kind of "fast" in mind. "Is this not the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?"

Amos was called to speak to Israel about this same issue. In chapter 2 of his book he reveals the true deeds of their people. "They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed." He goes on to say more in chapter 5. "You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts."

Recently a family in our community has experienced some of this injustice. Our courts seem to be the last place one can find true justice. It's a place where the abusive husband gets all the breaks and the single mom gets victimized once again. It's a place where lawyers learn to manipulate the law rather than uphold it. It's a place where the rich squirm their way out of punishment and the poor get their sentence heaped on them in double measure. It's a place where the criminal usually gets off. And if the government decides to give you a federal indictment, then you are guilty before proven innocent.

What is even more sad is that when we look out in to the world, the US "justice" system is one of the best that humanity has to offer. In other countries with less democratic governments the injustice is staggering. The fact that we have one of the best systems in the world and yet it is so broken and corrupt says a lot about humanity. Our understanding of justice is so lacking that most of the time we wouldn't know justice if it smacked us in the face.

In times like these we have to increase our faith. We have to trust that our Heavenly Father is just. We have to have hope in a day when justice will prevail ... a day when the wrongs will be righted. In the mean time, we pray for the God of Justice to have mercy on us and that He will bring the grace we need to endure.

"But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!" (Amos 5:24)


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