Justice is the desire of God, maintained throughout the Biblical text. Both the Old and New Testament stories proclaim this as the will of God. But the text also makes clear, this is Godly work we are to participate in – as the prophets declare, we are to be ‘doing’ justice.
We hear the word ‘justice’ thrown around a lot these days. “Social justice,” “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” “justice for Breonna Taylor,” and so on. Micah, among other prophets, also used the word as a primary instruction to the people of God, saying, “Do justice.” Before we can understand what it means to ‘do’ this thing called justice, we have to understand what the Bible means by ‘justice’ itself. With over 400 uses in the Biblical text, the Word of God makes clear what is ‘justice.’
In this midst of a continuing pandemic, and amidst the varying hardships overwhelming our nation, you make ask of God, what do you want of us? How can we see your divine healing in this land? Micah offers guidance in just such a situation – so listen to the Lord. The answer is living with God, and living for others. Do justice. Love Kindness. Walk humbly with your God.
Achsah is a little known woman, who was given as a spoil of war by her father to be the wife of her uncle. Yet, even in a world where she was wanted only for her beauty, she persisted to stand up for herself that she could share in the care of God’s creation.
Women aren’t tertiary to the Biblical story, they were significant leaders, who at times were called by God to places of leadership to ensure the future for the people of God. Esther is one such woman, who, though given into a palace harem by her legal guardian, persisted against all expectations to lead the people of God in faithfulness.
While many will claim men as the sole representatives of faithful leading, we must claim and tell the stories of the women who have come before us and declare their witness as models, as mentors, and as leaders who have exemplified faithfulness in God’s continuing work for justice.
Women have been neglected by society, left out of our historical narrative, and have been given little more than tertiary roles. Sadly, the Church has also limited the role of women, ignoring the Biblical stories of women in leadership. Yet, many women of faith have persisted in following God, even when it meant speaking out, standing up, and risking their lives amidst a patriarchal hierarchy. Miriam offers us such an example.
If we cannot identify ourselves as wilderness people, we will have a hard time understanding the context of Advent. The advent of Christ is to bring good news to the poor, release captives from slavery to sin and death. If we can’t claim our own wilderness, perhaps we should align ourselves with those in the wilderness.
Too often we play a guessing game with Christ’s identity, in which we force our perceptions and our desires of a Messiah upon Christ. But Christ didn’t come just for you, Christ came for all people, so stop claiming an infallible opinion of the Messiah, or you’ll be rebuked, just like Peter.
For the Biblical text to truly be helpful in our understanding of salvation and the saving work of God, it requires us to have an understanding of the text that goes deeper than what a simple surface level reading can provide. Isaiah 55 is a good example.