Monday, July 5, 2010

Everyone Loves a Bribe

Your 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. Isaiah 1:23 NRSV

We sometimes forget, in this age of religious disagreement over abortion and homosexuality, that the Old Testament comes down harshest on those who are not just or merciful. But I don't see a lot of people these days talking about justice. I don't hear many radio talk show hosts trying to convince other Christians to adopt those who are in foster care. There are not many brave souls who complain about all the company CEOs who bleed their companies dry yet many of their employees must choose between keeping the lights on or having health insurance.

But not many people listened to such prophets as Isaiah, either.

Isaiah spent his ministry convicting the Israel, Judah and all of God's unfaithful people. He didn't have pleasant words to say. He predicted the fall of Jerusalem and he prophesied that God was going to send a foreign people in to do all this destruction.

No one wants to hear that they have done wrong. They would rather see themselves as being the good guys and doing the right thing.

When in your life have you been a rebel and hung out with thieves? Think about this seriously.

When have you accepted a bribe? If you look back on your life, I would imagine this has happened.

When have you neglected the poor? I think we can all admit we don't give money to those begging on the top of the interstate ramp.

God, we need to take Isaiah's words to heart. Convict us, Lord, and show us when we have been just like the people of Israel and Judah in Isaiah's day. Help us to stop rationalizing our behavior and listen more closely to you. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims

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