“See how the faithful city has become a harlot! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her – but now murderers…..Your rulers are rebels, companions of thieves; they love bribes and chase after gifts. They do not defend the cause of the fatherless; the widow’s case does not come before them.” ISAIAH 1:21,23
Of course Isaiah was directing his admonition to Jerusalem, the city central to Judaic life and justice in the 8th century BC. Social justice was established within Judaism as a mandate directly from the God whom they worshipped. To not follow the writings of scriptures regarding care for widows and orphans was anathema to Jewish ecclesiastical doctrine.
The parallel to contemporary society is uncanny. Isaiah may as well be speaking to the institutions, religious and governmental, of our country in 2019. Some of those who proclaim the Good News of Jesus with the right hand use the left hand to cover their deplorable justification of racism, intolerance, and persecution. Confinement in cages at our border is acceptable. Widows and orphans of the unimaginable violence in countries south of us are vilified and labeled by our political servants and errant religious leaders as unworthy of the compassion demanded of us as children of a universal God.
If you have studied ancient civilizations, you will know that once-proud Israel was not only subjugated by the Roman Empire, it was destroyed from within by the arrogance and greed of Israel’s leaders who at the time were its religious elite and powerful. The final annihilation was completed by the Romans in 70 AD and Israel no longer existed as a nation. Only in 1948 did it regain its independence.
Can’t happen here? Why not? Are we not complicit in child abuse, human rights violations, corruption, deceit, murders? Has not our once great nation given up its moral compass, its beacon to the world’s huddled masses? I think we have. We have become the whore of whom Isaiah prophesied.
“Prophet Isaiah reflects on the condition of Jerusalem. Once the city held to justice, but the present tense reality reveals much corruption, greed and complicity. Injustice plagues the city, seen in thwarted action on behalf of orphans and widows, the city’s most vulnerable residents. Society shows wear and tear, a sign of coming destruction. The failed city is a contemporaneous image. Massive corruption, mass complicity and loud maligning of immigrants and foreigners surround us now.” RED LETTER CHRISTIANS