Home arrow Articles arrow THREE APPROACHES TO JUSTICE arrow WHAT WOULD CREATE THE GOVERNMENT WE NEED?
Home
Articles
Bible Studies
WHAT WOULD CREATE THE GOVERNMENT WE NEED? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 11 June 2015

WHAT WOULD CREATE THE GOVERNMENT WE NEED?

BY Jim Jordal

 “Wash yourselves, make yourself clean. Put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; Cease to do evil. Learn to do well. Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."            Isa. 1:16-17 WEB

From virtually everywhere come the reports of ineffective, aggressively partisan, conflicted, and increasingly moribund government. But trouble keeps appearing, leading some to despair of any presently existing government being able to staunch the tide of bigger problems with fewer answers.

But that’s how God intended it to be. We were intended to live in harmonious relationships with one another under God’s rules for peace and justice. But we can’t or won’t live under God’s banner, so we face continuous unrest and fear over what transpires upon the earth.

The earth and its inhabitants cannot survive much longer under growing threats of terrorism, war, financial disaster, racial warfare, rampant crime, broken families, ecological collapse, and a general decline in public honesty and cultural decency. What we’re doing now is unsustainable in every regard, yet in our arrogance and resistance to God we cannot admit our true condition.

We don’t need new constitutions, strategies, political parties, programs, or threats of violence. What we need is to finally pay serious attention to what our Creator said concerning the wayward human condition and his answers for it. The prophet Jeremiah perhaps said it best: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9 KJV). Our condition aside from God is deceitful, cruel, haughty, arrogant, and supremely self-satisfied.

As you can tell from the news, many human hearts are indeed deceitful and desperately wicked. This condition is always present and has been resisted down through the centuries by God and religion, but seemingly to little avail. What’s needed now is to switch this struggle from individual sin and deeds to national sin and its even greater perversions.

Isaiah specifies clearly the actions we must take to regain God’s favor and anointing. Judging from the context of this passage, God’s anger is directed more at nations than at individuals because the damage done on the national level is far more pervasive than what individuals acting alone can achieve. Yet we understand that there really are no systemic behaviors that are not initiated by individual decisions. In the larger sense God tells our leaders and nation: “Cease to do evil.” He means to stop making laws that are oppressive. Stop initiating wars, not to gain freedom, but to protect foreign markets. Stop paying workers starvation wages while bosses reap the vast preponderance of the returns for increased productivity.  An example is that of every new dollar of income arising from increased productivity of labor, 99 cents goes to the top one percent of the economic pyramid.

Next he tells us to “learn to do well.” It won’t do much good to stop doing evil if we do not also learn to do well for others. Doing well then becomes a social value based upon respect for others and a deep concern for their welfare---something not very evident in American politics today.

Then we hear the command to “seek justice.” This is not merely waiting for justice, but actively pursuing it in all aspects of human interaction. Justice literally means doing what is best for others.

Finally, Isaiah turns to specific behaviors toward vulnerable individuals and groups of society: “Relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.”  This is advocacy that begins with charity but moves far beyond it to determine and correct those cultural conditions that perpetuate human dependency and dysfunction.

 Human arrogance complicates the search for justice because we lean toward our frail learning and wisdom as sources of deliverance. But as we see every day, that source of deliverance is severely limited. It’s very simple, depend upon God’s word and his favor for deliverance, not upon merely human resources.