Focal Passage: Isaiah 58:3-11
Recently, my wife and I re-watched the series finale of Seinfeld. In the episode, Jerry and the gang witness the mugging of an obese man. Rather than helping, they choose, instead, to mock him. Their indifference to the oppression of another lands them a year in jail where, per the conversation at the end, not much has changed.
In the Bible, Israel is often oppressed at the hands of her enemies due to sin, but in Isaiah 58, Yahweh indicts Israel as the oppressor. Outwardly, she displayed her religion beautifully, but all the while she was enslaving her fellow countrymen and denying them basic human rights.
God said in the beginning, “Let us make man in our image,” which means that all people are image-bearers. Thus, each is inherently worthy of basic human rights. Like Israel in Isaiah 58, for us to preach freedom in Christ, while at the same time inflicting or ignoring the injustice placed upon others, is tantamount to false belief. “Pure religion … is this, to look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
Originally, I watched the Seinfeld finale as a teenager, and I laughed. The second time I was an adult, and I was horrified. Injustice, and indifference to it, is no laughing matter, particularly for God’s people. Let us be a people who speak up on behalf of those who have no voice.
Let us be a people who shine the gospel light of hope into a world of darkness and despair. An eternal blessing where justice reigns will be our reward.