Tuesday, December 3, 2013
called back home
Good afternoon sisters and brothers,
Today's reading looks at both the judgment and redemption of Israel. It's a hint to what God values and how we should act. Notice the emphasis on doing justice for the weak and oppressed. Notice also that God wants to turn Israel (and our) heart back to justice even though we often go astray. God is always trying to bring us back to the right path; that's what Christmas is all about.
16Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.18Come now, let us argue it out, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be like snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. 19If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; 20but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
21How the faithful city has become a whore! She that was full of justice, righteousness lodged in her— but now murderers! 22Your silver has become dross, your wine is mixed with water. 23Your princes are rebels and companions of thieves. Everyone loves a bribe and runs after gifts. They do not defend the orphan, and the widow’s cause does not come before them.
24Therefore says the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: Ah, I will pour out my wrath on my enemies, and avenge myself on my foes! 25I will turn my hand against you; I will smelt away your dross as with lye and remove all your alloy. 26And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city. 27Zion shall be redeemed by justice, and those in her who repent, by righteousness. 28But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed. 29For you shall be ashamed of the oaks in which you delighted; and you shall blush for the gardens that you have chosen. 30For you shall be like an oak whose leaf withers, and like a garden without water. 31The strong shall become like tinder, and their work like a spark; they and their work shall burn together, with no one to quench them.