April 04, 2008

God Does Not Accept Bribes

Isaiah 1:10-17

“Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless … [and] the widow.”
Isaiah 1:17


The sins of Judah were beginning to resemble those of Sodom and Gomorrah. God’s people didn’t understand the holy will of their God. Injustice against the weak and vulnerable was becoming rampant. God’s people thought they could make up for their sinful actions and appease God’s holiness by sacrificing animals and doing other religious rituals. But they continued in their evil ways of injustice and oppression against weak and vulnerable people. The society had become dominated by rich powerbrokers who thought nothing of accumulating wealth and gaining more clout over the poor and powerless. In addition, the judges and religious leaders did not condemn them but instead enjoyed their generous bribes and elaborate parties.

But those who are being trampled under the heel of oppression have God on their side. God doesn’t accept bribes. He doesn’t run a court open to bribery. And God expects nothing less of his people. Addressing the leaders of Judah, the prophet Isaiah said, “Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”

That is our calling still today. Our practice of compassion and justice anticipates the day when the Lord himself will come in person to “give decisions for the poor of the earth” (Isaiah 11:4).

Gracious Father, purge us by your Word and Spirit so that our lives may truly reflect the holy character of the Lord Jesus, our Savior, in whose name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Victor Atallah

Rev. Victor Atallah is the broadcast team leader for The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry and the general director of Middle East Reformed Fellowship. These meditations are based on texts of Arabic broadcasts aired a few years ago and an Arabic commentary on the book of Isaiah prepared for publication. Rev. Atallah and his wife, Lisa, live in Larnaca, Cyprus, where The Back to God Hour Arabic ministry is based. The ministry reaches Arabic-speaking people throughout the Middle East and North Africa, introducing them to Jesus Christ, Savior of the nations.

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