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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Righteous or Wicked (2 Chronicles 27; Isaiah 9-12)

It's hard to explain how much Dad loved his '67 Chevy.  In the winter of 1979, his heart filled with pride when it started while the frigid cold paralyzed later model cars.  The ripped upholstery and missing passenger side mirror gave witness to its service as youth group transport.  We boys would manipulate the nonfunctional eight track controls to enable it to fly.

Unsurprisingly, he passed on a few reasonable offers when it came time to sell the car.  Enter Ron.  Ron, who could not read, told Dad about the most recent scam perpetrated against him by an unscrupulous used car dealer, then asked how much for the Chevy.  Dad asked Ron what he had in his wallet, and then accepted $1 for the car.

Today, I practice law and I suspect those bad deals complied with Indiana's statutory scheme. And even if the did not, I am quite certain they would not have sufficient monetary value to interest a lawyer in taking the case.  
Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
or fall among the slain.

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
his hand is still upraised
From Isaiah 10.  But, Isaiah recognized that those who make unjust laws would not have the last word.  Isaiah new that no matter how dark the looming invaders were, invaders he identified as doing God's will in punishing Judah for it wickedness, the worst thing would not be the last thing.
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. 
Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
From Isaiah 11.  We have a choice.   We may be a tool of righteousness or wickedness.  And while these specific terms are probably old fashioned, I suspect we have all felt the difference.

When you act for justice can you feel the pleasure of something outside of you?  When you've acted selfishly, can you not feel displeasure of what seems like something other than you?

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