Tag Archives: justice

The Plumb Line

Checking uprightness,
measuring depth,
pointing directly to the centre.
Showing how it should be
and how from the true
reality is.

The plumb line
tells it all.

God knows,
God shows.

How do I measure up?
How do I stand?

Am I true?
What is my depth?
Where is my centre?

Am I just?
Fair?
Loving?
True to you
and your ways?

Measure me up Lord,
and may I respond
to what you see.

The Plumb Line and the City – Coventry Cathedral By Jim Linwood [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The Measure of a Man

Amos 7:7-15 (CEV)

A Vision of a Measuring Line

The Lord showed me a vision of himself standing beside a wall and holding a string with a weight tied to the end of it. The string and weight had been used to measure the straightness of the wall. Then he asked, “Amos, what do you see?”

“A measuring line,” I answered.

The Lord said, “I’m using this measuring line to show that my people Israel don’t measure up, and I won’t forgive them any more. Their sacred places will be destroyed, and I will send war against the nation of King Jeroboam.”

Amos and Amaziah

10 Amaziah the priest at Bethel sent this message to King Jeroboam of Israel, “Amos is plotting against you in the very heart of Israel. Our nation cannot put up with his message for very long. 11 Here is what he is saying:

‘Jeroboam will be put to death,
and the people will be taken
    to a foreign country.’”

12 Then Amaziah told me, “Amos, take your visions and get out! Go back to Judah and earn your living there as a prophet. 13 Don’t do any more preaching at Bethel. The king worships here at our national temple.”

14 I answered:

I’m not a prophet! And I wasn’t trained to be a prophet. I am a shepherd, and I take care of fig trees. 15 But the Lord told me to leave my herds and preach to the people of Israel.

Do Something (2nd Attempt)

(Sorry for previous posting of gibberish – never try to write posts on a phone in the middle of the night!)

This is another of those passages I’m tempted to leave well alone. But if we don’t struggle with such passages, how will we ever come to a deeper understanding of God and faith and so deepen our relationship with him? So here goes. Just some thoughts, feel free to join the conversation and grappling.  (Remembering that such passages are people also grappling with God, who he is and what he means – living in an entirely different time space to our own.)

How often do we long for God to do something in a situation? We cry out for him to act.

Yet if he did what was truly necessary would we be happy with his response?

This passage seems incredibly harsh, but is it what was really needed to sort an awful situation?

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18  (GNT)

The day is near when the Lord will sit in judgment; so be silent in his presence. The Lord is preparing to sacrifice his people and has invited enemies to plunder Judah.

12 “At that time I will take a lamp and search Jerusalem. I will punish the people who are self-satisfied and confident, who say to themselves, ‘The Lord never does anything, one way or the other.’ 13 Their wealth will be looted and their houses destroyed. They will never live in the houses they are building or drink wine from the vineyards they are planting.”

14 The great day of the Lord is near—very near and coming fast! That day will be bitter, for even the bravest soldiers will cry out in despair! 15 It will be a day of fury, a day of trouble and distress, a day of ruin and destruction, a day of darkness and gloom, a black and cloudy day, 16 a day filled with the sound of war trumpets and the battle cry of soldiers attacking fortified cities and high towers.

17 The Lord says, “I will bring such disasters on the human race that everyone will grope about like someone blind. They have sinned against me, and now their blood will be poured out like water, and their dead bodies will lie rotting on the ground.”

18 On the day when the Lord shows his fury, not even all their silver and gold will save them. The whole earth will be destroyed by the fire of his anger. He will put an end—a sudden end—to everyone who lives on earth.

As per a discussion on twitter yesterday (Remembrance Sunday) sometimes something we perceive as awful has to happen to stop a bigger travesty.

 I wasn’t necc saying air strikes are wrong – fact that they’re needed is…

Is that how it is with God?  In order to sort one thing, is it necessary that what we perceive to be harsh action has to be taken?  If people were behaving the right way action wouldn’t have to be taken. If they (we) were doing the right thing, no one would be in any danger, because all would be good.

So if we don’t like the idea of God being angry and how that might look, perhaps the answer is in our own, individual and collective, hands.

Of course the other side of this for us that wasn’t true for Zephaniah, is that we live post-Jesus. He came and showed those of us that couldn’t, or wouldn’t, grasp what God had been saying all along what it physically, humanly, should be like. And he gives the possibility of making it alright and a new start if we choose to take it.

The anger and judgement of God displayed in an Old Testament understanding is perfectly understandable. I can see how that was perceived to be what needed to happen.

Thank God we have Jesus, who brings a different way, a fresh hope and a new way!

Lord I know
I get stuff wrong,
behave the wrong way,
say the wrong things,
forget about you,
overlook my fellow human,
sometimes just totally misunderstand.

For that
I deserve for action to be taken,
for there to be consequences.

Thank you for Jesus,
for new hope,
different possibilities,
life in you.

Help me Lord
to live in
and through him.

Knowing the Truth

Is how we think we are living and acting always the reality?

Are we kidding ourselves, or trying to convince others?  Or just telling people what they want to hear rather than how it really is?  Who are we fooling?  Who are we letting down?

Micah brings harsh words:

Micah 3:5-12 (CEV)

You lying prophets promise
security for anyone
    who gives you food,
but disaster for anyone
    who refuses to feed you.
Here is what the Lord says
    to you prophets:
“You will live in the dark,
far from the sight of the sun,
    with no message from me.
You prophets and fortunetellers
will all be disgraced,
    with no message from me.”

But the Lord has filled me
    with power and his Spirit.
I have been given the courage
    to speak about justice
and to tell you people of Israel
    that you have sinned.
So listen to my message,
    you rulers of Israel!
You hate justice
    and twist the truth.
10 You make cruelty and murder
    a way of life in Jerusalem.
11 You leaders accept bribes
    for dishonest decisions.
You priests and prophets
teach and preach,
    but only for money.

Then you say,
“The Lord is on our side.
    No harm will come to us.”
12 And so, because of you,
Jerusalem will be plowed under
    and left in ruins.
Thorns will cover the mountain
    where the temple now stands.

It’s easy to say the thing that makes you popular, the pronouncements that apparently bring reward and win friends.  But that is not what God is asking.

He asks his people to stand for truth and justice, to stop those causing misery, to not just tell people what they want to hear, but challenge what needs challenging in our communities – as we say in Yorkshire, to call a spade a spade, and not pussyfoot around issues.

It is not fair to let people carry on without challenging them and pointing out the better way.  It is not right to allow suffering without challenging it. To not challenge wrong is to collude.

This is not an excuse to go around proffering our opinion, sitting in judgement on people’s personal lives without looking at our own; it is a call to challenge institutional injustice.  This passage is particularly a call to the leaders to live and act in the right way, for  the prophets to say what God says, not what they think or are comfortable with.  If we don’t challenge, there is no opportunity for things to change.

What challenge should I be making about injustice, cruelty and living God’s ways?  And what about my life?  Am I doing and saying what God asks me, or busy sharing my opinions?

Lord,
you call me
to live your ways,
not be taken in
by what is popular
or profitable.

Lord,
you call me
to challenge injustice,
cruelty,
to stand by the truth.

I ask for your wisdom
to know which is which,
what to do,
how to act
and your strength
to do it.