Woe to those enacting crooked statutes and writing oppressive laws to keep the poor from getting a fair trial and to deprive the afflicted among my people of justice, so that widows can be their spoil and they can plunder the fatherless. What will you do on the day of punishment when devastation comes from far away? Who will you run to for help? Where will you leave your wealth? [There will be nothing to do] except crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain. In all this, His anger is not removed, and His hand is still raised [to strike]. Isaiah 10:1-4 (HCSB)
Have you come to the point in life where you realize that you cannot live upon a remote island totally isolated from others? Have you come to the realization that no matter the cause or motive, self-serving attitudes and actions are harmful to others? That attitudes and actions whether for good or bad intent impact everyone within our circle of influence. God created us to interact and socialize directly and indirectly with others. We all have neighbors all around us whether we know their names or recognize their faces, and like our family and friends, they take notice of our presence and our absence.
However, in today’s passage what is the worst kind of impact anyone can have upon others? What about intentionally orchestrated, self-serving attitudes and actions of those elected to govern for the good of the people who chose them? Whether the burdens of the laws and taxes are considered necessary, they harm those who cannot stand up and voice their concerns against unjust and unfair laws and taxes. They feel betrayed by those they empowered to represent them for the good of the people. They feel betrayed when self-serving attitudes and actions neglect the good of the people.
Under normal circumstances governments are held in check by the will of the people – that is called the social contract theory of man. Men created governments to provide security and order among men by consent of the men that created the government, however when government forgets where their authority is derived, rebellion and removal of those corrupting the government is a reasonable and often necessary course of action to reestablish the ideal, rightful and just government to govern over them, as it was intended originally. These ideals stirred the hearts of our founding fathers against the tyranny of England over the Colonies.
In the case of God’s people, God is the final authority over the government because most often the helpless were the ones taken advantage of in the days of Israel and Judah – even when that religious government walked daily in the hypocritical shadow of the temple where they worshiped God. The same religious leadership took the original 10 commandments that God gave to all his people and over 600 constrictive laws about living were constructed by their self-serving interpretation of those commandments. Even Jesus confronted the injustice of these misguided precepts, ordinances and laws. The religious leaders continued to legislate their own interpretations of God’s original laws because they felt empowered to do so. They in return burdened the same people that God meant them to protect and preserve through his original commands. In the case history of Israel and Judah, God stepped in and expressed his objections and warnings through the prophets and eventually through the actions that history records. God even sent Jesus to make the point, but pride, jealousy and greed rejected and crucified him rather than accept the changes God demanded. History records God’s hand upon Jerusalem and the Jews that still is felt this very day.
On a personal note: You may feel that you are not held to the same standards as those in power who make laws or levy taxes, but I believe God says otherwise. When our attitudes and actions adversely affect others, especially the helpless, you are at the same risk from God’s intervention in your life. His will is to protect and preserve the helpless and discipline the offender.
How can you avoid such action by God upon your life? Live your life by the light of God’s will, ways, and wisdom and you will certainly be far more sensitive to how your attitudes and actions impact others every day. Your attitudes and actions can serve to build up or tear down others around you. God leaves that choice to you, but leaves warning of the consequences or blessings that follow from our choices.
How can we judge or criticize the attitudes and actions of others, especially those who represent our values and priorities if our own attitudes and actions are no better?