Thursday 15 December 2011

Bible Book:

"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 our prey!" (vv. 1-2)


How powerful are the images in this passage - "They gorged onthe right, but still were hungry, and they devoured on the left butwere satisfied" (v. 20). To disobey God is to be ultimatelyunsatisfied. It is to eat food that does not nourish you; the veryact of disobedience gives rise to a miserable consequence.Devouring the right is to prevent justice for the poor - it's notan individual morality of poor and foolish choices, ones that mightbring us shame and embarrassment; it is the broader spectrum ofhuman behaviour, of society based on rich people getting richer,and the denial of justice to those who can't afford its price. Thevery normality of such disobedience is shocking. But this is simplythe way things are. Perhaps more shocking still for us to hear isthat God is angry with this situation. In our wealth and power wedevour the right, we eat each other, we 'devour on the left'. Thisis to the detriment of the powerful, so what good does it do us?"Where will you leave you wealth?" (v. 3) is the ringing cry. Butthere is not only this inevitable consequence of such depravedbehaviour. God is also angry and implicit in this anger is thewarning of judgment: "His hand is stretched out still" (v. 21). Notan easy passage to read!

To Ponder

In one way this is too hard a passage to simplyponder and think improving thoughts. This is hard to hear stuff.The challenge is to stay with it. God's out-held hand is the handof the same loving God we know in Jesus Christ. So stay with thechallenge.

Where do we 'gorge on the right and devour on theleft'?

What is our response to God's anger?

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