Friday, September 25, 2009
Mid-Day Devotion 9/25/09
"This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.' "But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears. They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the LORD Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the LORD Almighty was very angry. "'When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,' says the LORD Almighty.’I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations, where they were strangers. The land was left so desolate behind them that no one could come or go. This is how they made the pleasant land desolate.' "
Short of the salvation that is granted through the life, sacrifice and death of Christ Jesus, His only begotten and beloved Son, given at the cross and made complete with his resurrection, conquering the power of sin, death and the Devil before his ascension to the right hand of the Throne of Might on High, one of the greatest of ways that the Lord shows His love onto His children is in how He instructs them to love one another. After all, the greatest of commandments is that we love the Lord our God with all of our hearts and all of our souls and all of our might, the second though is like unto it, that we love our brothers and our sisters, that we love our fellow man as we love ourselves. (Mark 12:28-31)
This is the means in which justice is truly administered and compassion and mercy is shown. As love, that transcending love of God that is given through the power of the Spirit in our lives, comes to encompass us we dedicate ourselves to being a force for God and for His goodness and His benevolence, abandoning the sin of our former selves and the shameful delight of its vanity, selfishness and self-righteousness. We become a force for freedom rather than a shameful oppressor, we offer ourselves for the cause of liberty rather than the cause of hatred, we seek justice rather than seek fear, and, in all things, through all things, we devote ourselves to the cause of the captives and the slaves held in dark bondage and cruel subjugation.
There are many ways the dark prince of this world afflicts his captivity on this world, binding the hearts and the souls, the bodies and the minds of men and women. Through his dark powers he ties the hands of people and he straps a stone to their neck, casting them amidst a sea of trouble then watching with delight as they drown, the hope drained from them as the old adversary, through his grim hold, asserts his dominance on this world. The war he wages may be a spiritual conflict, it may be a battle for the soul, but he will try to break not just the soul and the spirit, not just the heart and the essence of a person, but the body and the mind as well, hoping the shatter them to their very core.
To deal then in love with your fellow man held in such captivity, held hostage by the power of the Devil, regardless of how that hostility is made manifest by him, is the calling for every Christian, for every faithful child of God, hearing the voice of Christ in their heart through the Spirit moving with them. Make no mistake, to ignore it, to refuse to pay attention to it, to pretend as if does not matter, constitutes an act of betrayal against God and His Holy Word and Divine Commands.
In Zechariah we hear the account of the Prophet talking about how the Lord told his people to care for the widows and the fatherless, the aliens and the poor and not to oppress them, and how they ignored him. It’s clear though that by God’s words and by His careful admonition that His judgment was solely upon those who did oppress and those who did make slaves of those who were in need. It was upon all who turned a blind eye to it as well, and who refused to show compassion and mercy, those who refused to administer true justice. After all, a sin of omission is just as much a sin as a sin of commission.
Is that really how we want to consider our lives? Given to turning a blind eye to suffering and affliction, sorrow and pain, anguish and agony amidst the captivity of this world? As the ones who could have dedicated themselves to pushing back against the dark power of the old adversary as he takes prisoners and hostages by his evil authority but who turned their back, believing it was someone else’s job or someone else’s calling or duty or obligation to administer true justice and show mercy and compassion? Is that really how God would want us to use the gifts He has given us?
If we are truly called to be imitators of Christ, if we truly are called to live our lives as He lived His, then the answer we must forever and always come to is “No”. We are called to something better and more as we dedicate our lives to ending captivity and to being a force for justice, mercy, compassion, and liberty in this world, regardless of whether it is a captivity of the body, the mind, the spirit or the soul.
Yes these days… the days may be long and the struggles great as we toil amidst this world against the forces of evil that would seek to devour and destroy. But even in that, we know we have the Lord God Almighty listening to our prayers and hearing our calls. He shall then answer them, shining His light and His love as a beacon amidst the darkest of places, even in the darkest of hours that would seek to so afflict people in their greatest need. A God who would never ask us to go it alone, we know that He truly is the Spirit of liberty and justice and where He is freedom shall reign. There we know that as we hear His words telling us to be this force for His will in the world, this voice for His calling in this temporal existence, we will not be alone nor will we be left to face the challenges alone. He shall walk beside us and He shall, through His Holy Hand administer His justice against the wicked and the vile, against the evils of this age and all ages.
Trust then that Rock of Ages know that this is the blessed assurance of our calling from the Lord, a true and faithful promise that we know through His calling. Therefore put your hope and your trust in it, knowing that God does not fail or forsake those who work according to His will to put an end to oppression. He is there to put to flight the acts of corruption that would so violate His commands of love as He works as an ever vigilant force for good in this world.
Blessed be His Holy Name for that.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and Of the Holy Spirit, Amen.