2 Timothy 2; Jeremiah 7-8; Psalm 122
There are some who treat God as the granter of magical wishes. They seem to act as if saying the right magical words will automatically cover all their previous offenses and suddenly make things right with God. The ancient Jews had that problem during Jeremiah’s time. They would engage in all kinds of detestable acts that involved worship of false gods, and then say something like, “…but, The Temple of the Lord!”
Ah, that magical incantation. They got you there, God. Or so they thought. God’s reaction, through Jeremiah, clears things up. “If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.” (Jeremiah 7:5-7)
God has a special affinity for the powerless. He called Israel because they were so powerless. He sent Jesus to die at the hands of the powerful, to redeem the lives of the powerless. His message here is clear: a relationship with Him results in a changed life. And that changed life will cause you to treat each other justly and to stop oppressing the powerless. As those who claim to be followers of Christ this same message applies to us. Compassion for the powerless strikes against the powers that be in this country. If you really think about it, no law is written for the benefit of those who are powerless – someone else always benefits. We need to break that cycle.
As followers of Christ, we need to make sure that our lives are in line with God’s purposes. Here in the United States it has been so easy for us to align with the powerful in times past because of our belief that we are a Christian nation and aligning with the powers that be meant aligning with Christ. And so, like the ancient Jews we relied on our magical formulas to proclaim our faith in God while living in ways that caused oppression to the powerless. We must show God’s heart in our lives and show compassion for the powerless.
Lord God, I confess that I have benefitted from being part of the power structure and have overlooked the needs of the powerless. Grant me forgiveness and give me Your heart to care for others.