Isaiah chapter five, verse seven. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting, and he looked for justice. But behold, bloodshed for righteousness, but behold an outcry.
God loves His people deeply, but expects them to act justly.
That this verse depicts God’s love for his people and senses pride in his people. He talks about his people like a vineyard, they’re the house of Israel, the men of Judah. They’re a pleasant planting. Think about this, there’s people that God has planted, that he has nourished, that he’s watered, that he’s helped to grow. So we see his love for them, at the same time we also see his expectations for them. It says God looked among his people for justice, he looked for righteousness in what he had planted.
The startling reality of this verse is that when God looked for justice, instead he saw bloodshed. When he looked for righteousness, “Behold an outcry” the text says. It’s the exact opposite of what they were planted for.
I read that, and I just think about my life, I think about our lives, I think about the Church today, planted by God, saved by him, nourished by him, built up by him. He looks among us, he looks in my life, in our lives, he looks in the Church, for justice. He looks for righteousness.
The question is, is that what he finds in us, in our lives, in our families, in the Church that we’re a part of? Does justice, does righteousness mark us? When we look at a world of evil and suffering, when you think about injustice on so many different levels, when it comes to issues of social justice, slavery, more people alive today as slaves than any other time in the history of the world. Think about the oppressed and the poor, who are living in desperate poverty, oppressed by nations, governments, injustice all around them. Think about racism and prejudices and the systemic injustice that we see in our culture in my country.
So when God looks at his people, this is not what he desires to see in our lives or in the Church. He wants us to be a people of justice, who are doing justice in a world of injustice, who are loving righteousness in a world of evil and suffering.
We need to pray, God help us to be a people who do justice. We want you to see our lives and see justice. That can only happen by your grace in us, by your work in and through us. May it be so. Oh God help us to fight for the poor and the oppressed, to provide for the poor and the oppressed, to help free the slaves.
God, help us to work for justice in our culture. Lord, help us to work to alleviate all prejudices and racism, any sense of ethnic superiority. God, may we have nothing to do with it, may we fight against that in our own hearts, and in the culture around us. Help us to be a people who are marked by a love for justice, acting justly, and righteousness, God make us a people who are marked by righteousness.
In a world of sin and suffering, God help us in a Saint Corinthian’s kind of way to come out and be separate. Yes, to love people in this world, but not to love the ways and the things of this world, and to look like this world. God, when you see us, we pray that you would see righteousness.
Oh God, we are your people, who you have planted, who you have saved. Please help us to live with justice and righteousness today and each day, in our lives, in our families and in our churches. We pray these things in Jesus name.