Revelation 17; Isaiah 1-2; Psalm 108
Whenever we read the messages of God to Israel in the Old Testament, it is easy to miss the message God is sending us today. We sit back and shake our heads at the sins of Israel wondering how they could act that way or we look at our country and claim that the sins God has addressed with Israel apply to the United States today. In truth, though, if we recognize Israel as God’s covenant people, the messages regarding sin and rebellion in the Old Testament should be applied to God’s covenant people in the New Testament times: the Church.
For too long we have mixed church and state by asking the state to take on the duties of God’s covenant people without accepting those responsibilities ourselves. Perhaps we do that, in part, because it’s easier for us to look at our country and assign God’s judgment to America based on what those outside the church are doing, rather than taking a deep look inside ourselves and recognizing that just like ancient Israel, the Church is not living up to our responsibilities in God’s Kingdom.
And so we read these words “…wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:16-17) and wonder why our country allows the bad things to happen and doesn’t follow the good things. This message is to God’s covenant people – the Church.
God’s call is not to stop doing wrong if maybe we are doing wrong; His call is to stop doing wrong and learn to do right. How are we doing wrong? We do wrong in part, when we depend on the state to take over our responsibilities. God calls Christians to seek justice – not shake our heads and say that we can’t do anything because of the situation. God calls Christians to encourage the oppressed – instead it seems like we fight to keep our position of privilege. Do we defend the cause of the fatherless as we should? Do we support the widows or do we leave that to others to do? Hard words, I know. Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions.
It is time for the Church to accept and take back our responsibilities. We must stop doing wrong and learn to do right. We will begin the process if we can start seeking justice, encouraging the oppressed, and start caring for the fatherless and the widow instead of leaving their fates in the hands of the state. Let’s take back those responsibilities one step at a time and be the people God has called us to be.
Oh Lord, how easily I pass on my responsibilities to others. I confess this sin and ask You to help me to stop doing wrong and learn to do right.