Isaiah 5, 5-7
Something to read
Now I will tell you
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
I will take away its hedge,
and it will be destroyed;
I will break down its wall,
and it will be trampled.
I will make it a wasteland,
neither pruned nor cultivated,
and briers and thorns will grow there.
I will command the clouds
not to rain on it.”
The vineyard of the LORD Almighty
is the nation of Israel,
and the people of Judah
are the vines he delighted in.
And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed;
for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.
New Revised Standard Version
To read the King James Version, click here
Something to think about
The ‘good fruit’ that the Lord was looking for from His vineyard Israel was justice and righteousness. But instead the Lord only saw ‘bad fruit’: bloodshed and cries of distress. As a result, He removed His hand of blessing and protection from Israel and she subsequently fell victim to the threat and power of the surrounding nations.
Clearly God is looking for the fruit of the Spirit to be grown in our own lives too, for us to mature in Christ-likeness. And that must include the fruit of justice and righteousness: in our own lives and that of the Church and the nation; the fruit that means we speak up and act up for the last, lost, least, little and lonely.
This is to be manifest in our attitudes and actions to the weak and vulnerable we encounter every day, through to the values that shape our shopping habits; in the way we choose to become engaged in local, national and international political issues, through to the way we choose to vote.
It seems that ‘God goes where He’s wanted’, as author Phillip Yancey states. If we desire his protection, presence and promises, then we need to be purveyors of justice and righteousness. In what way is the good fruit of justice and righteousness present in your life?
Something to do
Along with taking on a new spiritual discipline throughout Advent, why not focus your prayer and action around a particular issue of injustice? Rather than ‘praying wide’, why not specifically focus your prayer and attention on homelessness, trafficking, young offenders, or another local political issue for the next few weeks?
Something to pray
Lord, we long for justice to roll like a river and righteousness like a never-ending stream. Help us, even today, to contribute to that stream and that river. Help us to be, speak and act like you.
Andy Poultney is the Barking Area Youth Advisor.