August 4, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Isaiah 10:1-2 (NIV)
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.
In many passages of Scripture, including Isaiah 10, God condemns those who use their power to oppress others. God’s commitment to justice is found throughout Scripture. Therefore, it should also be found in our hearts and practices. As God’s people, we should seek to act justly in all situations.
Throughout the Scriptures, God is shown to us as one who cares profoundly about justice. As it says of the Lord in Psalm 99:4, “The King is mighty, he loves justice.” In particular, God seeks justice for those who aren’t in positions of power, wealth, or influence because they lack the means to ensure justice for themselves. In Isaiah 10, the Lord condemns unjust judges and lawmakers because they “deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people” (10:2). In fact, they make “widows their prey” and rob “the fatherless,” two categories of people who were most vulnerable in ancient Israel.
Though Christians differ on exactly how we’re to seek justice in today’s world, and though followers of Jesus have a broad range of political views, it seems clear that we must all share God’s commitment to justice, especially for those who are disadvantaged and excluded. In our personal lives, in our charitable giving, in our professional endeavors, in our workplace systems, and in our political activities, we must strive for God’s justice. Simply caring about our families, our churches, and ourselves is not enough if we’re going to live faithfully as the people of a God who loves justice.
Some time ago, I found myself in a conversation with a boss who worked hard to pay fairly those who worked for him. Yet during a financial downturn, he struggled to make sure he could continue to pay those who counted on him. Rather than doing what seemed obvious – laying off many people – he worked hard to figure out how he could keep his people employed, even if that was costly for himself and his company. He did this partly out of compassion for his people, and partly because he is committed to seeking God’s justice in his workplace. What he did is one down-to-earth expression of a godly commitment to justice.
Whatever your work, whatever your role at work, whatever authority has been entrusted to you, you can seek to “act justly” with all whom you encounter in your workplace (Micah 6:8). As you do, you can be assured that your efforts honor the Lord.
Where in your life do you have opportunities to express a commitment to justice?
How might you live out this commitment even today?
Do something in the next week as an expression of your commitment to God’s justice.
Gracious God, you are indeed a lover of justice. This passage from Isaiah reminds us of just how much you care about justice, especially for those who can’t secure it for themselves. Help us, dear Lord, to share your commitment to justice and to seek justice in our lives. Guide us in our personal relationships, in our professional responsibilities, and in the exercise of our citizenship, so that we might reflect your justice in how we live.
I’m also reminded today to pray for those who serve in government. I pray for lawmakers, judges, and executives in my city, county, state, and country. Guide them in the ways of your justice. May they show special concern for those in the world who lack the power to help themselves. Amen.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Doing Justice (Leviticus 19:15-16)
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.