October 27, 2018

Justice Like a River

Amos 5:18-24

Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!

—  Amos 5:24

It is not unusual to be saved through faith in God and yet suffer under oppression. A person may walk with Jesus each day and yet have to labor under discrimination, deal with unfair working conditions, or face religious persecution—with little chance of getting out from under the grindstone.

What’s particularly scorching about Amos’s prophecy is that some of the worst oppressors were Israelites who were zealous in their religious rituals. They brought sacrifices to God; they observed all the religious holidays. They followed the law of God to the letter. But they had no concern for other people. Through Isaiah, God said, similarly, “Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. . . . Your hands are full of blood! . . . Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:13-17). Wherever this charge may apply today, it calls for self-examination of our attitudes and account books. It may also call for debate and accountability in our community and business circles.

Ultimately, on the day of the Lord, the Judge of all humankind will usher in complete justice. And for those who have repented and turned to Christ, all oppression and poverty will cease. On that day, justice will roll down like a mighty river.

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Amen.

About the author — George Young

George Young, a native New Yorker, worked as a taxi driver in New York City before studying to become a pastor. Then he, his wife Ruth, and their children were missionaries for many years in northeastern Japan. They worked with ministers and believers from the Reformed Church in Japan to spread the good news of salvation in Christ and ­establish new churches. Now George and Ruth are retired and live in the northeastern United States, nearer to their children and grandchildren.

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