Day 18: To Uphold Righteousness and Justice
Psalm 89:14 Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
My stomach dropped into my shoes as my eyes grew big. I had just heard that there are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in history. How can that be true? In the progressive post-abolition culture that we live in, how can there be over 27 million slaves worldwide? And how could there have been over 1,000 calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in the past four years from the state of Michigan? Surely slavery doesn’t happen here in West Michigan. But it does, and the reason is because there is heartbreaking injustice in the world.
As Christ followers, God makes it clear that we are to take a stand against injustice and fight for those who do not have the ability to fight for themselves. “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” Isaiah 1:17 NIV. When I compare this command to the statistics of injustices like human trafficking, poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse, and so many others, I begin to feel helpless. How do we even begin to act justly when injustice seems to be taking over? Where do we start?
The best place that we can start is where many great Biblical leaders before us have started. With prayer. Look to the examples of men like Moses, Ezra, and Nehemiah who turned first to God and pleaded for His guidance and intervention. These men saw God change the attitudes of kings and rulers to move in ways that were beyond what they had imagined. The rulers of their day who were once set against God allowed a nation to be freed from slavery, a temple to be rebuilt by an exiled people, and a city wall to be built up in only 52 days. Each of these men was guided in his work by the One who has a passion for those under unjust oppression.
There is an overwhelming amount of work to be done to solve the injustices in our world today. So where do we begin to stem the tide of heartbreak? The best place, the only place to start, is on our knees asking God to give us His wisdom and discernment as we work to uphold justice in our circles of influence. Don’t hesitate to ask boldly for Him to move the hearts of those with greater influence as well -- our leaders, politicians and media. Our call is to uphold righteousness and justice in the world around us, but God, just like the leaders whose stories are recorded in the Bible, God does not leave us alone in that task.
What injustices cause your heart to break?
Where is God giving you influence to fight injustice?
Father God, Your word shows that you care deeply for those that are suffering under injustice. Thank You for Your father heart that upholds the oppressed. I ask that you would be with our leaders and work through them as You have so many times throughout history. Give them a passion to establish just laws and the wise discernment they need to solve issues. Where there is a lack of passion, move in their hearts to create an urgency to uphold justice. Give me a fire to stand for those who are suffering all kinds of injustice. Show me how I can work to influence those around me, and move in my own community to show Your love and compassion. May Your Kingdom come even now!