Tuesday, January 22, 2013

ignore the poor; ignore God

Did not your father eat and drink and do justice and righteousness? Then it was well with him. He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. Is not this to know me? declares the LORD.
Jeremiah 22:15b-16

In context, this was a message to the last king of Judah. As the Babylonians marched toward Jerusalem, the downfall of the nation was unavoidable. The king would be humiliated and dragged off to Babylon as a captive spoil of war -- a trophy for Nebuchadnezzar to boast over and display. The Lord's reminder was that the leaders in Judah "earned" this outcome by their lack of real obedient leading by the Law. They were concerned only with power, wealth, and prestige. They ignored the administration of God's justice, particularly by not caring for the poorest in the nation.

And we get insight into the character of God and the nature of obedient faith.To really trust God is to do what He cares about. It cannot co-exist with selfishness. It is caring, loving, active, and sacrificial. That is because it is in God's character to care for needy sinners. It started in the Garden of Eden after the fall and has continued to this day. It climaxed in the sacrifice of His Son at Calvary. And it will culminate in a future kingdom Christ rules. This is the biblical grand picture of redemptive history.

The point God made to Judah is that His redeemed people will care about what He cares about. I believe this is a universal principle and still holds true for us today. Our faith must show in our actions. It is not real faith if it does not. It is a false doctrine if it is just about doctrine. This is not social justice for the sake of any kind of human driven utopian ideal. Instead, this is about providing for the neediest among us out of worship for all that God is giving to us so that they may know the love of Christ in us! This is what is right. It must accompany the gospel for it shows that we really know and love The Lord.

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