Wash And Make Yourself Clean
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
During times of thanksgiving and remembering the birth of our Savior, we must not forget why He came – we have need to be cleansed from our sins. God has washed our sins in the lifeblood of His Son, whom He sent two thousand years ago, to cleanse us of unrighteousness and place upon our shoulders His positional righteousness in place of our sins. The Great Exchange permits us to approach God in His throne room as children and heirs to the kingdom. When we give gifts and feast on food without remembering why the Savior was born, we do Him a great injustice, turning the remembrance of the holy day of His birth into a commercialized endeavor to feel good about ourselves.
God implores us to stop sinning. Acknowledgement of wrongdoing without a change of heart is merely being sorry we were caught. True repentance calls for two actions above and beyond the mere acknowledgement of wrongdoing – a turning away from the behavior that we now claim is abhorrent to us, and a turning towards the One who has redeemed us from our wickedness.
The Son of God never once sinned. In everything He did, He honored God the Father and did His will perfectly. We too are challenged to learn the will and ways of God so that we may learn to do good. If we don’t know what is good, how can we do it? The law merely points out that we are sinners. But it also provides insight into the attitudes of the heart and shows us the expectations of a loving God eager to see us walk in righteousness before Him.
God has repeatedly stated in His word that we are to seek justice. We are to ensure that all who come before the courts of law are to be treated with the utmost of respect, and to receive what God would have happen – that justice would occur. Justice is meted out with mercy and grace where appropriate so that it does not become the blunt object of abject horror that merely seeks the letter of the law and ignores the spirit of the law.
Defend the Distressed
Is justice served when those who are oppressed are ignored? God greatly desires that the oppressed be helped as well. Whether being harangued by people or governments, we are to intercede when people are oppressed. Justice demands that each person be permitted to live their lives without oppression or the threat thereof. When this is not done, we risk the wrath of the One who will take up the cause of the oppressed and ensure that the ones responsible are brought to justice. And justice will be done, if not in this life, then at the great white throne seat of judgment.
Help the Helpless
In remembering the Son, we are to remember that He championed the cause of those who had no representation. The people who were helpless before the law and courts in the day of the prophet Isaiah, as well as our Savior, were widows and orphans. With no one to help them, they were often ignored – or worse – taken advantage of by ruthless people. We are to take up their cause, for if we do not, God will take up their cause at our great peril:
49 “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.”
In this season of joy, let us remember the reason for the season, and bow down before the King of kings, and Lord of lords, who rightly deserves all glory, honor, power, dominion, and worship.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: What steps am I taking to ensure that justice is being done?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, You are a just judge, and cannot allow evil in Your sight. Forgive me for my sins, and help me to see what I can do to ensure that justice is being done for the oppressed and the helpless. I earnestly ask that You intercede in the affairs of my country’s government and instill within the people who have been placed in authority over us a proper sense of justice, that they would honor and glorify Your name as Your representatives in authority of Your people, for everything and everyone in the universe is Yours to do with as You will. Bring about the change of heart needed in government so that You would be honored in the manner in which they conduct themselves. Purge us of the evil that has infiltrated and obscured the workings of justice, and shine forth Your perfect light in such a way that those who shroud themselves in darkness would tremble and flee before the perfect light of Truth. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?