Let your heart and mind be open to the nudges of the Holy Spirit as you read this passage from Isaiah and reflect on the Word.
Isaiah 59: 1-9 (NRSV)
See, the LORD’s hand is not too short to save,
nor his ear too dull to hear.
Rather, your iniquities have been barriers
between you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you
so that he does not hear.
For your hands are defiled with blood,
and your fingers with iniquity;
your lips have spoken lies,
your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one brings suit justly,
no one goes to law honestly;
they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies,
conceiving mischief and begetting iniquity.
They hatch adders’ eggs,
and weave the spider’s web;
whoever eats their eggs dies,
and the crushed egg hatches out a viper.
Their webs cannot serve as clothing;
they cannot cover themselves with what they make.
Their works are works of iniquity,
and deeds of violence are in their hands.
Their feet run to evil,
and they rush to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they do not know,
and there is no justice in their paths.
Their roads they have made crooked;
no one who walks in them knows peace.
Therefore justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us;
we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness;
and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
In the poetic language of the Book of Isaiah, this passage describes our sinfulness made evident in the injustices that we tolerate in our society. The writer’s words paint vivid images of the consequences of evil for us. These metaphors include our groping blindly along a wall, stumbling in the dark, growling like bears and mournfully moaning like doves. We conceive lies and utter them. Today, just as in the time of Isaiah, we watch as truth stumbles in the public square.
This passage reminds us that the Lord sees injustice and it displeases God. Our sinfulness is evident not only when we mistreat other people, but also when we stand silently on the sidelines as others are treated unjustly. How can we truly be the people of God if we watch as justice is turned back? How can we truly live as people of God if we simply stand at a distance as others are treated unjustly?
Loving God, shake us out of our comfort zone and awake in us a thirst for justice. We invite your Holy Spirit to dwell in us opening up new points of view and giving us courage to speak the truth when we see injustice. You are the answer to our desperate condition of sinfulness. We are saved by your grace. Our hope is in you. Amen.
Go with God!