Home > Uncategorized > From the Front Porch: Justice as a Social Imperative

From the Front Porch: Justice as a Social Imperative

Isaiah's Lips Anointed with Fire

Image via Wikipedia

The news this past week has been bleak.  The United States – and much of the world – continues in a debilitating recession.  This past week, the U.S. Census Bureau released the latest poverty figures for the United States. Their statistics show that we have 15.1% poverty in America –up sharply from earlier years.  That translates into an unemployment rate of roughly 14 million people.

USA Today reported that, due to the steep recession, older Americans are struggling to buy food. Even a mortgage company kicked a 101-year-old woman out of her home for failing to pay her mortgage. To their credit, the mortgage company moved her back into the home later in the week. But this incident shows to what extent we marginalize the poor and helpless in our society.

So how do we, as a people, deal with these issues in our society? Perhaps we should once again hear the words of the prophet Isaiah as he spoke to the ruling class of Judah (Southern Kingdom) in his day.

Isaiah saw a multitude of social injustice in Judah.  Laws were oppressive and largely benefited the ruling elites, who turned their eyes and ears from the poor, widows and orphans. The underclass in his day resembles the poverty class in America today. The poor and vulnerable were  a neglected underclass, pitied in words but, in truth, largely ignored.  The nation did little to help them deal with their plight (Isaiah 10:1).

Now on the brink of destruction, Isaiah writes that Judah should have tried to do what was right in God’s eyes by righting the wrongs of social injustice and inequity. It should have fallen to the rich to protect the interests of the poor. Instead, the rich mercilessly exploited the weakest and most vulnerable people in society. For that, Isaiah writes, divine judgement is coming upon them. Their enemies will devour them. The result will be that the rich and powerful share in the poverty and vulnerability of the poor. There’s nothing like a war to level the playing field!

Sometimes, catastrophe is what it takes to awaken a slumbering nation. Yet, ever the hopeful, faithful prophet sees a day in the distant future when, from the utter destruction of war, God will cause to arise a remnant who will serve Him and be to the people a Messiah — a redemptive figures who is faithful to God and His calling for the nation under whose reign justice and righteousness will prevail.  Though plundered by war and economic ruin, “a shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1, NRSV). As a result of God’s justice, the Messianic reign will result in the most unlikely alliances of tranquility between formerly warring neighbors (Isaiah 11:6-9).

However, peace and justice happen only when a people — a nation — decide to turn their gaze toward heaven and commit themselves to God.  Isn’t that what needs to happen in the United States?

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. September 22, 2011 at 3:24 am

    well said Bob

  2. Michael
    September 28, 2011 at 2:43 am

    Great post. !!!

  3. Lisam
    September 29, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Hi! I nominated you for “The Most Versatile Blogger Award.” It’s a way of saying I enjoy following your blog. To find out more, click on the link back to my blog: http://walkinstep.wordpress.com/

  4. October 16, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Hello, I’m the artist who made the Esther wood burning. I think that is really cool that you liked it enough to post it on your blog. Here’s my site if you want to use any other Biblical pyrographs. http://www.olivertclark.com

    Oliver T. Clark

    • October 17, 2011 at 12:28 am

      I think you are a really cool artist! Thanks and keep in touch.

  5. January 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Committing ourselves to God is what should happen, not only in the United States, but also with the rest of the world. With all the calamities happening all around us, how can anyone miss the sign that a new order in society is badly needed.

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