The Foolishness of the Gospel (God [Messing] With Us) – Justice. What exactly is it? We continue our Advent Series with the prophet Isaiah as our guide. Isaiah is writing in the Eighth Century before the birth of Christ – a time of cataclysmic shift in the Mid East. How is it that something written during that time would become part of the Christian narrative?
The answer to that question is, in part, the concern for Justice. The Mid-East had been a world of relatively small, independent kingdoms. That changed dramatically with the rise of the Assyrian Empire. In a world guided by a theology of might as a sign of divine favor, “justice” takes on a tone that leans toward the powerful.
The tribes of Israel, as a united country, had tasted that power centuries earlier with the reigns of David and Solomon. While not as extensive as the Assyrian Empire, Israel had pushed their weight around. Now they were on the other end—not the powerful, but the victims. This period of history would essentially obliterate the Northern Kingdom—”Israel” – as the people were carried off into exile.
“Justice” for Isaiah begins to take on a different flavor. It becomes something God alone can enact, and has a miraculous quality to it, with righteousness and faithfulness at the heart of what justice is truly about. Isaiah expresses the hope that God’s justice will somehow gather up the “surviving remnant” and bring them home. And all of this will be enacted by a “shoot that comes up from the stump of Jesse” … and that’s where Jesus comes in.
Scripture Lessons for the day:
Message: “…And Justice For All”
Choices in the Everyday Adult World. Justice issues?
Isaiah’s Vineyard – Isaiah 5