“If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil word; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon”.
Isa 58:9, 10 GNB
Poverty is a running sore in the life of a nation. It blights the lives of millions of people in the world today. It casts a cloud of darkness over the vast majority of people in the continent of Africa. The same applies to Latin America. It applied to many parts of Asia until after the middle of the twentieth century. What is more it is endemic. Poor families usually beget many children. That means they go underfed and have to leave school early – there is little chance of them bettering themselves. It is a vicious cycle.
Conditions in post-exilic Jerusalem were bad. With the defeat by the Babylonians much of the social and economic life had collapsed. When the exiles had been carted off to Babylon, only “the wretched of the earth” remained. Poverty, crime, and wretchedness ruled. It was still that bad when the first exiles returned. They went “home” filled with hope. Most of their hopes were dashed. Isaiah’s message reflects the social conditions prevailing. Through him God was calling for a united effort to bind up broken hearts and to care for each other combined with obedience to God and the implementation of justice.
Do not allow your Christian faith to encourage you to withdraw from the nitty-gritty problems of the world around you. To do so is escapism, a far cry from godliness. Face them with courage and commitment. Regard the hard work of finding solutions as a challenge and call from Jesus Christ.
Lord, show me how to play my part in improving social justice.