So yesterday I was on the way to Philadelphia for The Justice Conference and so I spent some time doing some very valuable Bible study because a speaker at the Global Ministries Conference I was just at suggested by a workshop speaker to read through Isaiah 41-53 and the principles for engaging justice that are there. In this blog I want to share what I learned from reading.
First, God’s concern in the Old Testament was not only for Israel, but for his justice and covenant relationship be known to the Gentiles. An example of this care for the Gentiles is given by Jesus in Luke 4:24-27
I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”
Second, that faithfulness and perseverance are necessary qualities in pursuing justice (Isa. 42:1) and we must remember that God keeps us and goes before us to do the work of justice (42:6-7). I think we must also take the warnings that are given about Israel’s blindness and deafness to God’s laws because it brought judgment and violence upon them (42:18-25).
Third, some big themes I came away from this section of Scripture was God is the only redeemer and God is constantly proclaiming what his message is to his people who are “called”(see chapters 43 and 48 specifically).
Lastly, Israel’s history, as well as the church’s history is constantly the theme of oppression, captivity, and seeking God’s solution of freedom and hope (physically and/or spiritually). I love how the end of this section of Scriptures that I read ends with a beautiful picture of God’s redemption through Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We must work together to seek God’s plan of restoration for just living in our own society.