Isaiah 1:16b-17 (the Message)
“Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.
commands from God.
“Say “no” to wrong.”
- this sounds so simple…
- this seems doable.. until the wrong is something that I want to call “not so wrong, or just a little bad…” -then saying no is more difficult
- a little bit of gossip, shared in hushed tones as “we really need to pray for…”
- a jealous motive that sends me to the store to “have one of those too…”
- an unkind word spoken from a proud and defensive posture, that I can justify when backed into a corner
You know… the little wrongs that we can sweep under the rug as “not really a big sin…” (like there is a difference! sin =sin – all of it, in every shape, form, nuance is displeasing to God)
but do NO wrong – means do NOT do what I know to be wrong.
just. Don’t. do. it! (a new slogan)
“Learn to do good.”
- develop the skill, become an expert in,
- become accustomed to doing good.
- practice doing good.
Clearly it takes work, consistency and commitment to do good. Once or twice it may come easy, but over and over again without seeking repayment, notice or affirmation- that is hard!
Michael Jordan practiced his craft and skill at basketball for countless hours with no accolades. no one saw him practicing till he made 500 free throws – every night, because his coach said he was weak in free throws.
Our God… says we are to practice doing good.
Are we as committed? (This question convicts and humbles me.)
- even when we are tired, weary, worn, unappreciated,
- keep doing good
This month on the World Race, our daughter Emily’s team assignment is “Unsung Heroes.” The team scours the country seeking out and making contact with believers who are doing good. These believers are often in ministry alone, without recognition or help… but they continue to practice doing good.. unsung and unseen by man, but seen and celebrate by God!”
“Work for justice.”
- work- put effort into, sacrifice for and be active in bringing about justice.
This year, I was smacked in the face with the reality of human trafficking. All over the word, even here in the US. I am ashamed to admit, that I sometimes I would rather watch an entertaining TV show, than actively work for justice.
But…the more I learn about injustice… the more faces I see as I read their stories…the more trivial other things become and I choose action! I continue to learn more about working and sacrificing for Justice from a few ministries I have connected with- like (IJM (International Justice Mission), Freeset Global, Restore One, Zion Cafe (where Emily served in Thailand)
My efforts feel small and inconsequential, but if many of us work for justice, we can make a difference… one life at a time.
Help the down and out. Stand up for the homeless. Go to bat for the defenseless.”
- the orphans, the widows,
- the ones who lost their job, maybe even their house in a bad economy,
- the neighbor who needs her snow shoveled, or lawn mowed,
- the immigrant, the ones without a voice, the fatherless,
- the widows, those who don’t have someone on their team, actively engaged in their “win.”
Look around your community… you will find them when your heart seeks to help them.
We live with privilege, opportunity, bounty and even excess. We are blessed to be a blessing.
But even more importantly, God says that our love for Him is evidenced in our deeds for others.
These commands are simple instructions for how God wants us to demonstrate our love and gratitude and worship.
commands from God.
Share your stories and thoughts about how you struggle with these commands. And/OR how you live them out.
How do these commands impact you?
Will you allow them to change you?
- Read all of Isaiah 1
- Read Isaiah 1:17 in a variety of translations.
- Read Micah 6:8
An expanded explanation & commentary on Isaiah 1:17:
Faith in Action:
- Look into some organizations that are committed to doing good, working for justice and “taking up the cause” of the oppressed. (see day 3 for some resources)
- Pray about getting involved in one.
- Look locally in your community for places to live out these simple straight forward commands.
Daily Lectionary Readings:
Isaiah 1:10, 16-20; Psalm 50:8-9, 16-17, 21 & 23; Matthew 23:1-12
If you want to read through the New Testament during Lent (about 1/2 hour a day)
Read on Day 14: Luke 7-12