Isaiah 59: A Biblical View of Justice and the Peace it Brings
My gracious heavenly Father, I thank you for each and every individual that could be here today and I wanna pray specifically for those who aren’t able to be here today, whether it’s because of sickness or traveling or other things Lord, pray that you would care for them, show them and remind them of your precious love for them today and be working there.
I ask that you would help just give us a great deal of clarity and openness as we look into your word this morning.
Father, I pray you give us, the humble attitude we need to approach your word, the right way, and I pray that your word would have a profound impact on our life. Father, I wanna pray and ask these things in your precious name, Amen
Well, we were planning to adjust our schedule already a handful of weeks ago before the Covid-19, so we’ve been starting with our sermon first, and that’s where we’re gonna start again today, if you’d open in your Bibles with me please to Isaiah chapter 59. We are taking a one-week hiatus from the Exodus study, we’ve been going through the 10 Commandments recently, and this week I would have been on… honor your father and mother, and I was planning and I had some notes and some thoughts about that, and I’ve been studying out some of those things, but it became apparent to me that God was moving in my spirit to take a different direction for one week to try to help give you the wisdom, you need and maybe secure you and give you some piece as well. So we’re gonna read Isaiah 59, all the way through and we’ll jump right in. This is Isaiah 59, the Word of God.
Towards the end. I just started studying got this far in my personal devos, I’ve been studying in Isaiah for over a year now, so Isaiah 59,
[Isaiah 59:1-21 ESV] 1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness. 4 No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity. 5 They hatch adders’ eggs; they weave the spider’s web; he who eats their eggs dies, and from one that is crushed a viper is hatched. 6 Their webs will not serve as clothing; men will not cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. 7 Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways. 8 The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths; they have made their roads crooked; no one who treads on them knows peace. 9 Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us; we hope for light, and behold, darkness, and for brightness, but we walk in gloom. 10 We grope for the wall like the blind; we grope like those who have no eyes; we stumble at noon as in the twilight, among those in full vigor we are like dead men. 11 We all growl like bears; we moan and moan like doves; we hope for justice, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far from us. 12 For our transgressions are multiplied before you, and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions are with us, and we know our iniquities: 13 transgressing, and denying the LORD, and turning back from following our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart lying words.
(Pastor Trey)How’s that for a good start to an upbeat worship service? Those handful of verses,
14 Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. 15 Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. The LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no justice. 16 He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede; then his own arm brought him salvation, and his righteousness upheld him. 17 He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak. 18 According to their deeds, so will he repay, wrath to his adversaries, repayment to his enemies; to the coastlands he will render repayment. 19 So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. 20 “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares the LORD. 21 “And as for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD: “My Spirit that is upon you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, shall not depart out of your mouth, or out of the mouth of your offspring, or out of the mouth of your children’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from this time forth and forevermore.”
I first learned of George Floyd’s death on a basketball blog on the current events section and some of you may be aware of what is going on to the news and others of you are not. George Floyd was a man up in Minneapolis who had actually many different friends from the NBA, and he himself was stopped by a cop and not that’s just the reason is still up for much question, but he was later pinned down to the ground and a police officer stuck his knee into George Floyds neck, for almost 10 minutes, I think is what it was, and a top report shows that he would end up dying as a result direct result of what that police officer did to him there all the while people from all around this police officer, with his knee on his neck, we’re asking him to, “Hey let him breathe he can’t breathe.
Even his police officer friends who were there.
We’re saying, “Hey maybe you should let up on his neck.
I had no thoughts about it.
Frankly, I am not one who takes a situation like this politically I care very little for politics.
And so I was not one who fit squarely into any camp. There were some who rushed to the police officers defense right away and then there were others who immediately take this as another example, in a long line of examples of police brutality towards blacks and racism in that sense it wasn’t something that either one of those things came to my mind, when I kinda considered these events I didn’t know what to think and I don’t know how many of you watched the video of it. I made the decision-active decision not to watch the video.
I’ve watched videos of this kind of brutality and injustice before, and it frankly disturbs me for months and months on it, as well. Probably it should.
It was disturbing enough to see the picture of it and disturbing enough to read the account of it.
My goal today is not to give a political answer to the events that happened, but a biblical one.
I wanna ask questions like, What should we think, “how should we feel? What does the Bible say about an event like that? Because I feel like if you’re anything like me, I’ve got friends and family and people from every different walk of life that are speaking into the issue and trying to teach their viewpoint about the issue and frankly, very few of them will address it from a Biblical point of view or will appeal to the Bible first, they’ll appeal various other things, and then tag a verse on the end. So my goal today is not anything else other than to hopefully offer you a sense of peace and help you make sense of why stuff like that happens because we know that even if I ignore it and don’t watch the video and I ignore things like that, “Guess what there was gonna be another video, right? That surfaces in a few months, that comes up- And it could be that time, someone shooting police officer that’s trying to calm the situation down. And I’m gonna feel just as much injustice and rage about that moment.
And it could be a different situation, a different video that comes up and every time we see something like this happens, something enrages up in us, and frankly most people don’t know how to make sense of it. It’s confusing, it’s frustrating. So, I wanna offer some Biblical wisdom about this, and then try to draw some applications.
I’m the first to admit that I’m not an expert on this topic, I have not read every news article about what happened, and I have not either read all of the treatises, out there about why it appears like these things happen or if it actually is happening more to minority groups, it’s just not something that I study out, I don’t think about it, but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel an outrage when something like this does happen, and I think it’s a biblical and a good and a virtuous one. So I’m not gonna pretend to offer you the end all be all difficult examples from this, but I hope to offer you as your pastor some advice. The other thing I would say before I get going, is I actually thought about preaching this sermon last week, but I didn’t feel like I had thought it through, enough yet.
And I’m trying in some ways to set an example, but in other ways, hopefully point Christians to not talk too quickly to think about it study the Bible and to not be too willing to give your thoughts and opinions in moments like this.
We’re in our passage today. First, I think it would be really helpful to define that word justice in the Word of God. You’ll see it all over the place. If you read it for any amount of time. What do you think of when you think of the word justice? Because the first thing I think of is like a fair punishment is that anyone else with me, that the first thing that they think of is like, Well, justice when somebody kills someone, is that they receive a good punishment for that crime, that’s justice and that is certainly part of the way that the Hebrew word, it’s the word mishpat, if you wanna know it.
That’s certainly the way that that word is used in the Bible, but it’s not the only way that that word is used in the Bible.
It’s a little bit broader of a term than that.
And some of you might already understand it, so I’ll give you a few examples from the word of God of how it’s not just that Deuteronomy 10:18-says He executes -God executes justice for the fatherless, and the widow, and loves the sojourner or giving him food and clothing. So what is an example of justice of God, in that moment? He’s giving food and clothing.
That sounds to me a lot more like the word charity you know what I mean? I would use the word charity to describe that. Not justice, but apparently this word in the word of God, this word justice can include not only this concept of punishment for wrongs done, but also this concept of a particular care or concern for those who are vulnerable. Here’s another example, Deuteronomy 24:17, “You shall not pervert justice do to the sojourner or the fatherless, or take the widow’s garments in a pledge.
Now you have no idea. What do you mean take the widows garment, you’re literally taking like What?
So, in biblical times, when you made a promise to make payment of something, normally the man in the family would take off his garment and would give it with a person, he’s purchasing it from as a way to promise. Hey, I promise you, I will make this payment full. Now, in that day and age that garment, it was a status symbol, it wasn’t just like a coat which it was a code it would keep you warm, too, but it was also a status symbol.
So you would want to make payment as quickly as you could, so that you could get your garment back within that culture. It was like a peer pressure type thing. But here it’s saying, Hey, if you’re judging and there’s a widow, she doesn’t have a male she doesn’t have a husband to care for her and that culture widows were very disadvantaged and she wants to buy something from you, you’re not gonna take her- you’re not gonna take her cloak right you’re not gonna do that. I know that might be equitable and fair that everyone should have to make that kind of pledge but no, you’re gonna give special care, special attention to the widow in that. So Justice can also include this idea of the special care concern and then probably one of the most common ways that uses used throughout the proper… It’s all over the Proverbs and the Psalms really but right from the very beginning, the writer Proverbs announces, “Hey this is to give you instruction so that you’ll be wise and dealing in righteousness and justice, and equity. How are you going to live your lives in a way that’s good, before others? How do you do good, is the question, Okay, so this would be kind of a running definition to keep attention in your mind to treat people equitably, okay, treat people equitably, if you’re supposed to acquit them, You are quite the… If you’re supposed to punish them, as a judge you would punish them. It’s not like it doesn’t matter if there are certain race in that time, it would be a Jew if it doesn’t matter if they’re rich, it doesn’t matter if it’s a woman that you could take advantage of and take away their property in that culture, in a socially acceptable, but morally repugnant way, it doesn’t matter if they’re guilty, you’re going to give them their punishment and if they’re innocent you’re not… That’s treating people equitably. But on top of that, it kind of seems like there is a giving due there. Is this appropriately benefiting the vulnerable in the society? So it would be giving an advantage to those who are disadvantaged.
I don’t know how else to put it. I know that that might sound in weird or like I don’t know, socialism or something but I don’t know of a better way to define… What I’m talking about here.
There are disadvantaged ones that they are given more advantages. I’ll give you some examples from that culture of what justice looked like, right?
So a widow and orphan, Sojourner we’re disadvantaged in that culture because they did not own land.
So what was the biblically just thing for them to do well all over the place, the land owners were supposed to not cut not harvest the corners of field leave that un-harvested, so the widow, the orphan, the Sojourner could come pick and they could survive on that. Not only that, but the land owners every seven years, the seventh year we’re not supposed to harvest it their field at all, but we’re supposed to leave that completely for the widow, the orphan, and the sojourner and every seven years, but really disadvantaged those who are really down on their luck and had to sell themselves into slavery, because they didn’t have enough money or whatever, they were set free every seven years. Okay, so what you hear here is that the ones who were strong in that culture would have to receive some level of disadvantage, they couldn’t harvest all their field, they couldn’t harvest any of their field once a year. Whatever it is- as a way to advantage to give the disadvantage an advantage? For lack of a better word.
So the strong would become weak, so that the weak could gain some strength back. That’s the best way I know how to put it.
And that’s the Biblical kind of point of view of what justice would be.
So we’re here in Isaiah 59. I’ve defined the word for you, you see the word really clearly in verse eight, “the way of peace they do not know there is no justice in their path the way of peace, and path are obviously the same thing, this is symbolic. The way they walk, the way they live their life is not a way that promotes the well-being of themselves or others, it’s a way that does not promote justice and care for those who are needy are equitable dealing with those around them, that’s not it, it’s describing a people that are wicked and in chapter 58, it goes on to explain what these people are, it’s the slaves that are being forced to work on the Sabbath, even though the command says Don’t do that, it’s the Sojourner who are being forced to work on the sabbath, is the care and the weak and the poor, that are being cared for within that community, that’s the sins, it’s the sins of What are supposed to be the people of God they have made their roads crooked “No one treads on them, knows piece. So the first thing I want you to see from verse 14 and 15, justice is turned back righteousness stands far away. Truth as stumbled in the public squares up rightness cannot enter it. Truth is lacking and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.
So in other words, the one who’s doing the right thing is the one who’s being picked on, that’s what that means, the Lord’s side, and it displeased Him and that there was no justice.
So the first thing I just want you to see the first point, this might be obvious, but I think it’s good that we say it okay, God wants justice. Is it weird that I have to say that?
But I think we forget that sometime, and I will add a word to that. God wants earthly justice, because I think sometimes when we think of God’s justice, we immediately think of some… Like court in Heaven that’s different than this Earth Justice and while it is certainly true that God wants eternal justice and he will doll out eternal justice, one day we’ll talk more about that in a minute.
God also wants earthly justice here he looks down from heaven.
You see that there’s not just this year and it dis-pleases Him. There’s a passage at the beginning of Isaiah, Isaiah 5 that best the people of Israel is if they’re are garden and he expected through from it, and there was no fruit, there was bad fruit.
And here’s what he saw it says, “the vineyard of the Lord of host is the house of Israel and the men of Judah are as pleasant planting. He looked for justice but the whole blood shed for righteousness but behold, outcry what you don’t see there is that justice and bloodshed rhyme in Hebrew it’s beautiful, he makes it rise.
You looked for justice and he saw “blustice” something like that, I don’t know, not justice -bad justice, injustice is the idea there. God is looking for some kind of justice her honor for His people to have justice in their dealings with others and he’s not finding it he’s not finding it.
Now, one of the objections that I hear from people is you don’t want justice, if you get justice, than you would be in hell.
Have you ever heard that?
I mean, I’ve heard that and I’ll say it like this, half truths half truth or what a whole lies, right?
Like a half-truths. That statement is partially right. It’s personally right, that God, if He were to judge you fairly and equitably you would be punished rightly and justly because you have committed hundreds and thousands of sins both an action in Word in thought and in desire, you are no were close to being able to receive good from God, because of your sin.
So, there’s partially truth there, but that’s, it makes it sound like God is indifferent to justice here on earth as if the justice and fairness here doesn’t matter, and it very, very much does the Earth’s justice is supposed to be a picture of heavenly justice in fact you guys know the verse, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled- later on, when Jesus prays, He prays it like this, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, God I want the way things run up in heaven to be the way things run on or that’s the prayer that’s therefore he is even though that the justice that we put forward can be extremely imperfect God just care that we try to match in picture a justice that God has in heaven, God is not unconcerned if humanity also has a sense of justice. Listen, I don’t know why some Christians have to argue against people right away when somebody becomes outraged at an injustice, it’s a good thing that anyone feels a sense of injustice that sense is a gift from God because those who call it bad those are the truly a depraved ones. When you look at a situation like happened up in Minneapolis and if people were saying, “Oh that’s no big deal, you got what it was coming to him, if you said something like that, you would be calling, something that was evil, good and that is not good, that is to pray, then twisted in your mind and… And so, whenever this world, people around you, your friends who maybe don’t know Jesus, whenever people have a sense of injustice that happens and it matches up with God’s sense of injustice firm that that’s a good thing, you should want them to feel that because it’s in that, that I may be a little piece of them could come to life the sense heavenly justice, we should be outraged over every injustice and outrage doesn’t mean other issues don’t matter. This is the other thing that I’ve seen several times now where it’s the the term in the political sphere as I’ve heard it is the What about isms have you heard of those?
What about that?
And so this injustice happens and somebody feels the need to come into this and Justice and say, “Well you shouldn’t be thinking about this, you should be thinking about all of these things over here.
It’s like, Okay, that’s true, that that injustice over their matters.
But that’s not what we’re talking about right now, and it doesn’t help to distract from this that doesn’t help anyone it should be something that we recognize. Now, here’s connected to this, I want you to see in our text 59 verse the way of peace, they do not know there is no justice in their path. Hebrew writing poet, poetry writing, often is connected and what’s called like a (ch**).
You guys say a (ch**) yes, okay, and basically what a ham is is it kinda looks like a mountain that goes up and then comes back down.
Alright, so in the language you’ll start at one point you’ll go to another point and then you’ll stay on that point, and then you’ll come back, the mountain on the other, say, side and start back and back where you started. So it’s like, “Hey the… And we have that in this verse, okay?
The way… A way of peace they do not know there is no justice in their paths. Do you see what’s connected, there?
The way… And path are clearly connected, right? You see that those two are connected. What are the two other words that are connected in this by the form of how it’s written, Peace and Justice, Peace and Justice. Remember last week when I told you you want to rest, it’s a righteousness.
Remember when I talked to you about that?
It’s all over. The Scriptures were peace. This is the word for shalom. It’s not just an internal word where you want to feel good inside, it’s also just like a peace in your life, a well-being in your life, it’s not a promise that your life will always be PC, but there’s a sense in which, where if you do the right thing there’s a piece, and even if there’s a storm running around outside the right thing makes it all better.
I don’t know how to describe it.
The peace and righteousness are connected unrighteousness leads to unrest righteousness leads to rest. If you wanna see this turn to chapter 57 verses 19 through 21, God is trying to create the fruit of the lips, of the servant who will cry out peace, peace to the far into the near wherever you are there’s peace for you it’s available to you if you’ll come and He says I will heal him, but what are the wicked life?
“The wicked are like a tossing sea for it cannot be quiet, it’s waters, toss up mire and dirt.
There is no peace says my God for the wicked.
Do you feel that, I mean, have you experienced that in your life, if you have it?
Part of you needs to be awoken. Have you ever experienced in your life, where when you sin, you feel like a story seat like you, there’s just not rest in your soul you’re uncomfortable, it’s like you’re sitting on a 1000 Thumbtack right?
You never can get comfortable with your life, you’re miserable, you’re doing sin, guess what?
There is no peace for the wicked, but there is peace, in righteousness.
That’s the point here.
And so you see this not only an individual spiritual devotion, but you see this in the world out there, right?
Have you seen this in a community where there’s no crime, do they tend to be more at peace or more, and unrest more pieces that it’s a rule in life, and it’s a rule that God has set for you to realize something that in unrighteousness and wickedness, there is unrest.
We are designed to be little pockets of new creation. We’ll talk more about that in just a moment. So have you ever heard the term systemic injustice anyone? And there are different sides points of view. I am, I’ll be real honest, right now. I have never read a book never read an article on the topic, okay I am as ignorant as possibly can be on this topic, but what I think it means, is that systems have built into their DNA, an injustice towards some people. Is that a fair definition, right?
I mean that seems like it’s a fair definition to me.
Now here’s the thing, is that we’re so reticent because sometimes of our political view to say Yes, there’s systemic justice that we don’t look at it, biblically. biblically speaking, okay, where do systems come from where to governments come from where to churches come from ultimately from God, people, what do we know about people?
They’re really bad, right?
What do we know about people? They’re correct.
A reform definition for this is totally to pray. Those aren’t two words that we normally use anymore, but essentially what it means is every part of humanity has been tainted and corrupted by wickedness, so much so that they stand helpless before God, to ever make him happy to ever be able to be acceptable to him and to ever enter into His peace in Heaven. That’s how bad things are now, if we know that about people and we know that people make systems, we shouldn’t shock us, that the vast majority dare I say, “Oh systems are corrupted as well, that’s just logical. Alright, that’s just biblical. That’s just a theological approach to things. That means there’s not a single founding document of a company that is an erect.
Did you know that there is one thing that is an error and authoritative? It’s the Word of God.
But there’s not a single founding document of a company that is an error there, will be systems within every single company that are corrupt and twisted, not like they should be.
Hey, by the way, this touches churches too. As an organization, there are things that we do that I probably correct that we need to repent from and continue to grow in.
You ever hear the phrase, “If you’re looking for the perfect church keep moving, you won’t find one here.
That’s our church, we’re trying to eat, we’re trying to grow. But you should not be shocked when you see sin in our church. Not only on the individual level, but in the mindset of how we as a church approach this things, but we should be repenting of those things in trying to grow. What about governments economies, these are systems guess what, a by people, they’re probably gonna have corruption involved with them.
So this idea of systemic racism or systemic injustice is not a completely anti-biblical idea. It fits right within our good solid biblical theology, but here’s what I’ll say to take another step, okay?
The Bible holds individuals responsible for injustice.
Okay, yeah, I think we get the idea that… Well, if there’s systemic racism then everybody’s at-fault equally for it and that’s just not the case. Their systemic injustice different people will have different parts, both in the creating of the systems, and different parts within Systems, that will contribute to injustice.
So for instance, within our church, guess what?
I hold more responsibility before God, for whether or not I’m leading our church, as an organization, in a righteous direction. It’s just the way it is.
You might not carry the same level of responsibility for that kind of systemic on righteousness as I do, I keep moving here. Number three, what we’ve seen over and over again, in fact it’s built into the very DNA of America, is that changing systems can be good. I’ll just bring this up real quick, right? What is in the founding documents of America that if the government is not doing what it should be doing the people have a right to throw off such government, it’s built into the very DNA of who we are that if a system’s not doing right, we throw it off and in some ways praise God for that, because that is what led to the abolition of slavery. People didn’t just accept the status quo of how systems ran but they threw out slavery. So systemic systems can be changed. And that’s a good thing and should be a good thing. But here’s the other side of this issue that I want you to consider read the Bible, read the New Testament. How often do… Paul and Peter, try to take down systems?
I think there’s good reason for one entire book of the Bible is dedicated toward sending a slave, a runaway slave back to his owner and telling them both to be good.
Paul and Peter had this mindset of… We might live in wicked systems governments institutions within our culture, but they always had this mindset of you as believers should be as righteous as you possibly can, within those systems. And he sets up principles for masters and slaves, by the way, that will render slavery, the institution of slavery completely pointless.
His principles of how master should live and a Slave should live completely undo slavery and that philosophy is ultimately what led to the abolition of slavery. But Paul’s attention to the test was, first and foremost, to…
How do you live within broken systems? We’ll come back to that in just a moment. So I want to just point out first, God desires justice on earth. We see that right in our passage, it’s really clear.
I’m gonna bring up a second point from Isaiah 59, here.
We’ll keep moving…. Lord saw It displeased him that there was no justice that’s verse 15. he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede. So God is looking down from earth for people who will promote justice. The word here is intercede for earthly justice and to see can mean prayer, it can just mean stepping in a gap and saying There’s injustice here. I’m gonna try to make it right. And by the way, Isaiah is devoted to that idea. Will you be the type of person to make it right now? Again, if you go back to the beginning of a chapter 5, there’s this really fun little phrase actually Norwalk living article on this phrase. It’s I say, “Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and valiant men in mixing strong drink guy. You hear that.
So in other words, the I, what you’ve got here is the words that are used, mighty men and heroes, those are words that are used elsewhere of David, they use elsewhere of great warriors of justice of people that were fighting for righteousness. They are used elsewhere in the text in the Bible of that, and here it says, “You know what, there are people who are supposed to be doing that, but instead they become masters at drinking strong drink ….alcohol.
How depressing is that, in a society where your heroes that are supposed to be interceding for justice, they’re supposed to be doing what they should be, and yet, they’re the ones who are addicted to strong drink, addicted, everything else they’re mighty and stuff that doesn’t matter and they’re weak and things that do matter?
I’ve heard people say something like, “Well the Bible says things will get worse shouldn’t we just hunker down until Jesus fixes everything ….I even heard that sentiment like, Well, thinks they’re gonna get worse and worse, so you know what, let’s just do our thing, let’s just keep our head down, do our thing and not mind what’s going on out there in the world. There’s a really fundamental problem with that in the entire Bible, God’s people are to be devoted to justice.
It’s all over and if you wanna say Old Testament, and New Testament, it’s actually really fascinating when Paul sometimes when he quotes an Old Testament passage that includes the word “mishpat” /justice.
He will supply the word I got instead, so I… So Paul is saying, you wanna know what the fulfillment of all justice is if you love… You want to bring peace to your life if you love, that’s how it happens. You sacrifice yourself for the good of other people and so it’s all over the bible, but so… You can’t just say, “Well we gotta just sit on our hands until the rapture happens or something like that. That’s not the biblical view. We’re gonna talk a little bit more about that. What God is working to do it is a good thing to do good works, if you look up in your Bible about… I think it’s 85-90% of the time. Good works appears in the New Testament, it is a textual you can show that it is connected to works of charity public good, public, good things.
Okay, the other 10% are debatable but good works is part of this idea of taking care of those who are needy in the Word of God.
Point number three, and this is where it gets really important, we’ve said God wants justice, for some reason. I felt like we needed to say that, ’cause sometimes I think we forget that God wants earthly justice.
Second I said God wants us to be involved in earthly justice, as we can.
The third point that I wanna show from the text here is that Jesus is the one who brings see earthly tent just brings heavenly justice to Earth.
So if you read verse 60, he saw that there was no man and wondered that there was no one to intercede then His own arm brought him salvation, and His righteousness upheld. Now, this is a awesome text, this is beautiful. What’s happening here.
So his own arm that’s used there that is a reference back to Moses and how He delivers the Israelites out of slavery.
One arm is gonna bring people out of slavery but it’s also used at the beginning of Isaiah 53, if you don’t know Isaiah 53, let me read a few verses from that who has believed what he are for us to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed. So there it is, who is this arm of the Lord, figure who is the one who’s gonna do that well what is he gonna do he’s going to be pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds, we are healed.
And so God’s plan throughout the Word of God and especially in this text in Isaiah 59 is as he looks around. There’s no one that can bring justice, there’s no one that’s really gonna be able to do it, there’s no one that’s gonna be able to bring that piece that this earth so desperately desires Who is gonna be able to help. There has to be one person and so the prophet starts writing about God reveals to him, about this figure who’s coming a figure who will act like a king Isaiah chapter 11 talks about this figure, he’s gonna have the spirit of wisdom and knowledge, and justice and righteousness, the spirit that he’s not going to need somebody to teach him what’s the right thing to do but he himself will just know it intuitively why ’cause he’s the one who made justice, that’s why.
And as you move forward, Isaiah 42, it speaks of the same fear.
Let me read it for you. Isaiah 42- Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He absolutely 100% is talking about punishing set, but he is also 100% talking about bringing a system of righteousness to the world where piece is gonna be allowed to flourish.
There’s only one that can do that.
He comes in the New Testament, you know the story, the one we’re longing for spirit of the Lord is upon me for He’s anointed me, to what he says, he talks about ministering to the weak and to the poor.
And so those who are in prison what are you talking about Jesus, that’s how he opens part of his ministry is reading a text from Isaiah 61, and then he goes about his ministry and what does he do person after person, he heals them, he says, Your sins are forgiven.
He introduces them, He teaches them, the way of righteousness, he’s ministering to them over and over again, to try to teach them about what is good and what is just… And what is righteousness? And maybe they begin to catch little bits of it, but how is how is that enough? We’ve had many good teachers we’ve had many people who have taught good fits to mankind, but they’ve never been able to establish righteousness on earth right that, so what is needed?
And so Jesus lived his life spent three years in ministry, primarily to a group of 12 individuals who would then take that, take his message to the world, but also ministered to many crowds both Jew and Gentile, Samaritans as well, the hated the people that racism acts were committed against. He spends time with them, spend time with women, even though they were treated very lowly in that culture children, even though they were treated very lowly in that culture, the poor, even though they were treated very lowly in that culture, the sick even though they were treated very lowly in that culture he cares for them all and then he dies on a cross, and you think Is that it… How is that gonna help anything?
The Bible tells us that through that death every wrong thing that you and I have done that we deserve the justice of God for an equitable and fair punishment for not only every wrong deed, but every wrong desire which that gets really hairy. Right? You’re like, “I might have committed six sins with my hands today but in my heart, it’s like a 100, at least right ’cause your heart’s constantly go in your mind is constantly going then and things you have no right to think that are unjust and unrighteous, but God knows about those things and we stand right Le underneath the judgment of God fairly deserving of His justice, and that’s why Jesus came, Jesus came to receive that justice on him to be pierced for our transgressions, wounded, so that we could be healed and through that he’s taken the eternal punishment that we deserve for our sin, so that we don’t have any punishment left from God.
You see that there’s nothing left over, it’s all been taken and put on Jesus so that we can stand in a right relationship with God, all of those who believe that are loved by God and called as a child, all of those who do not believe, that are still under that just condemnation.
So that’s the biblical story.
We talk about justice and sometimes we forget about the heavenly justice, the earthly justice pictures, what the heavenly Justice is like.
It should be fair here on Earth, but it is perfectly fair in heaven, it’s terrifying.
There’s another really cool part of this. ’cause remember when I said that being totally depraved, means we’ve been tainted and corrupted every cool part of our being is tainted and corrected, that leaves us helpless to save ourselves.
Remember when I said that- There’s a beautiful verse in Romans Chapter 5, that says that while we were still in our sins, when we were helpless to save ourselves, that’s when Christ died for us, that’s when God demonstrated his love for us.
So, part of actually God’s justice is His love to help the sinners part of God’s justice, is that He extends away to you even today by his hand to say Come to me, you’ve sent you’re a stormy sea? Inside, because of the wickedness of your life because of your injustice, because of your own righteousness.
You come to me and I will give you rest, I will give you my yoke, you’ll be called my child and that is a position that will never change, but if you stay where you are, you have none of it, you stay where you are, you’re still under that same condemnation, so it’s an invitation for you and me today, Jesus satisfies God’s eternal Justice, that’s the first thing that Jesus does now, having satisfied God’s justice, you And I, here’s the experience that I have with this truth. Okay, now when that though, I’ve committed many sins against God, now I stand righteousness because of what Jesus did, knowing that it makes me want to live for God, and it frees me to live for God, it enables me to pursue, good things.
If you listened to everything I said here, free gift, and say, “Well I’ll just pray my prayer and then I’ll just go on my way and everything will be good with me and God.
And you don’t have a desire to live the right way at that point.
Something’s wrong, you don’t really get it yet, but if you really get it if you really get that God sent His Son to be sacrificed for your sin as a demonstration of love for you and that if you will trust in that and embrace that for your own life and your own soul, if you will, do that, then you stand righteous if you really get that, it makes you wanna do the right thing.
That’s called a new self.
The Bible calls it a lot of things.
The new nature of the new self, the old man made new in the spirit, the law being written on our heart, the Holy Spirit doing a work in our lives, whatever you wanna call it, it is a work that is internal, and you know how you change someone you can’t do it from the outside in, you can’t tell someone from the outside and stop being that stop being bad, stop being bad, guess what they will continue being bad or they’ll find new ways to be bad inside, that’s not gonna be enough.
You kind of change the from the inside out, and that’s what the gospel does the gospel changes us to love and desire, and as Matthew 5, that attitude says hunger for righteousness, Jesus makes a people who hunger as for righteousness.
How do you establish a righteousness on earth?
I brought this up last week, and I bring it up again.
Just for you to consider Christianity, for all of her flaws, has been the result even by secular historians who look at Christianity has been the result of the greatest amount of good in the world for all time, Christianity has done amazing things for medicine amazing things, to care for the poor and the needy, amazing things for the place of women and children.
Amazing thing is for na area to work against the “infanticide of Ancient Rome, and infanticide of all time, Christian has done amazing things for that. Where does that come from?
Is it just because Jesus says, Do good? You want to others as you would have them do under you be a good person, that is that the source of it because if that’s the source of it, why isn’t every religion accomplishing all those things sources far more supernatural than that. It’s something that occurs inside. You’re in my heart at the gift of God who changes people to be zealous for good works.
Number four, our response, the response is that we should respond with contrition and repentance. If you don’t know what contrition means, it means feeling bad.
Feeling sorry for your sin and repentance means you, you turn away from the sin, and you turn towards the right thing.
That’s the natural response when you hear all of this message is, is all over the place in these three, four chapters of Isaiah already. Do you, just a few examples?
Isaiah 55, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way the unrighteous man his thoughts let him return to the Lord that He may have compassion on him by the way when you return to God, you know what you receive, you don’t receive a good scolding you don’t receive but you better not do that again.
Now, you receive compassion.
There’s many other examples. I’m gonna just keep moving, for now, 57-15 to 16-56-1-2.They’re all over the place is the foundation is are you gonna be sorrowful, for your sins, and turn away from them and live in the new power that God has given you to pursue righteousness?
So a few things. That’s the principle of righteousness and justice, that’s like our foundations. The framing. Do you have enough of the house for a house? If you just have the framing up no. So we’ve established the frame of what justice is. So my question then is how when there are moments of great injustice, whether it’s somebody dying at the hands of a police officer, a police officer dying or if it’s anything else, abortion, the wickedness of the corruption, I should say, of a disease that’s being spread from one person, the other… All of these things feel so wrong to us.
What is your… My response to that because if your initial response is to talk, you’re not where you should be, if your initial response when you hear about injustice committed against someone is a deep distrust and doubt about, for instance, George flood you say, “Well he probably had a coming… Humble, your heart.
Don’t be too quick to make a judgement, take time, listen to the stores. In fact, you’ll even have to make a judgement at all. You’re not a judge, you don’t have to decide who was in the right or the wrong you can just be content to feel the brokenness of it and hate it.
That’s okay, it feels like everybody out there the news media and everybody on social meeting everybody feels like they get to be the judge during executioner of every little thing that happens.
You could just be quiet for once.
Sorry, hobby horse.
We form our opinions, too quickly, we talk too much. What about is, is it… We say, “Well yeah, this is useless babble. What about this over here? It’s way worse. That doesn’t help. We’re not talking about that right now. It’s like that random person who’s always in a conversation wants to bring up the new house that they bought. It’s like, No, dude. We were talking about houses right then and we’re talking about your sweet new car right? Then you don’t have to work that into the conversation. We can just talk about this right now, it’s okay, it’s not one or just the “snarky-ness, the generalizations that have happened as a result of this, right?
All black people aren’t bad, they’re all sinful. All police officers aren’t bad, they’re all sinful, right?
We don’t have to make generalizations, one way or another, about a thing and nor should we. Its Biblical wisdom it’s God’s wisdom, not to do that.
Or how about the awareness warrior? That’s my favorite one. I won’t be silent, I’m gonna stand up, I’m gonna raise awareness, I’m gonna share and like and all this stuff, you know, there’s maybe a time and a place for Sol that… But frankly, some of that stuff does little good. And so I wanna bring you to the point of how should you respond how should you respond when great injustice happens, how should you respond? First of all, lament do you want a lament is we don’t use that word a lot in our English.
A lament is a sorrowful, prayer to go.
Many of the Psalms are laments, there’s an entire book of the Bible called ‘the Lamentations that one Lamentations, it’s okay to just feel sad, it’s okay to just prayerful pour out your sorrow for the brokenness of this world.
It’s okay to just be sad that a man died, ’cause it’s not supposed to be here, in this world, it’s a part of the curse, it’s a part of our sin, it’s a result of what we’ve all partaking in.
It’s okay if you just feel the brokenness of this world. The first lament.
Two Psalms that are really good for this.
Okay, so 37, Psalm 94… Read those Psalms when you’re trying to lament and you need words to help you read them out loud to God, they’re really, really helpful. They’ve been good for my soul, for many years.
So, when injustice has happened, what’s the second thing?
The second thing I would encourage you to pray is pray your kingdom come, your kingdom come, your will be done when anything unjust, happens in this world, and down the little things like you know, that you got overlooked for a job. Because the one who got hired was a buddy of the higher that ever happened. Anyone like that’s an injustice. It’s not on the same level, but whenever an injustice like this happens, it’s okay for you to say God.
This was not right. It wasn’t equitable. And I want equity, I desire your righteousness, I want just this Your Honor, I want you to bring about a world that is righteous and good and peaceful “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Aden it’s okay to pray, that You should pray for that you should long for that.
I would argue that that is probably the main theme other than, redemption of the Bible and that is that there are people who are constantly feeling like they are unjustly treated throughout the entire word of God, and they’re longing for God. The hope that God’s gonna make things right.
So I encourage you to hope, you see the beautiful part of Christianity.
Timothy Keller, says it like this, the beautiful part of the gospel is that Christians are neither optimist nor pessimist about what’s going on in the real world.
We’re not pessimistic because we know who wins, right?
We know that God we know the end of the story, we know that God will one day institute a perfect righteousness here on Earth and we all long for that day when he makes things right.
So we know the end of the story, we know things are not gonna finally end in a just completely anarchy and everything like that, we know that they will end injustice or… And also not optimist, because we know until that happens, what things are gonna still be bad, because people are sinful and corrupted and depraved in their heart and they’re gonna still do sinful corrupted depraved things to other people.
So we’re either pessimist nor are we optimist. We know education are isn’t gonna solve everything, right? We know this over here, this new solution, it’s not gonna solve anything, everything we know that people who come under the rule of Jesus Christ start to change and desire righteousness and justice, but even they are incomplete, they still struggle with sin, they still fight it in their life but it’s not all better.
Not all fixed.
And so that brings me to the last thing which is just do your part. And when I say do your part, I’m not necessarily saying Hey, go be part of the peaceful protests, although you could, I don’t know, I would encourage you, instead of focusing on changing the system, focus on changing some specific action in your life, how can you do a good work today?
Do you have an elderly neighbor that needs help being taken care of?
Do you have a friend that you can help take care of help give a job? Somebody who’s disadvantaged, some bees… For weekend, or in a widow Warner, we would… Or the people in your life that maybe are at a disadvantage. And how can you specifically help them?
I’m not asking you to change systems, I’m not even asking you to change political ideology. I’m just asking you to do a good work. That’s biblical, right? So the response of our heart because of God’s love for us, is we do the little things we can do for justice and righteousness.
The, okay, so let’s pray. Gracious heavenly, Father, I thank you for these people. The way they listen to this sermon -long sermon, it’s a hard topic, but you’re a good God, and our God, who is a God of light and you wanna uncover for us how we should live so I pray that You would fill these people with the knowledge of your will with all wisdom to be able to seek and pursue righteousness and justice, in their life. Help them to see and just how wonderful Jesus Christ is how he’s the solution.
Would you be at work in us? Lord, I praying this in your precious name, Amen.