1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
What a wonderful promise. In the face of everything that is going so horribly wrong in this world, I hope I’m not the only one encouraged by the prospect of a better tomorrow, one in which the needs of the poor, the hungry, the thirsty are satisfied.
Isaiah is one of my favorite books of the Bible, because it demonstrates God’s mercy and his love for the outcasts of this world so perfectly. How can you read Isaiah 10:1-3 as anything but a proclamation of his distaste for injustice and oppression?
1 Woe to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,
2 to deprive the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,
when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your riches?
As an American Christian, it is incredibly difficult for me to shake the gospel of wealth that I have been taught all my life. “The rich are wealthy because they have been blessed by God”, “Oh, you just got a raise? God is so good to you!”, etc. (Sociological sidenote: the book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism by Max Weber is an excellent study of how the Gospel of Christ and the Gospel of Wealth became so intertwined in America.) The idea that God is less concerned with your annual bottom line, and more concerned with how you treat your fellow man is a revolutionary idea for an American like me, but I believe an unbiased reading of the Bible tells us just that.
What a wonderful thing, isn’t it? That God’s heart is with those who suffer, that, no matter what it seems, he does not turn a blind eye to injustice on Earth. It’s passages like these that get me through times like this, in which economic inequality is at an all-time high and our concern for the poor seems to be at an all-time low.It’s what encourages me to keep fighting for the poor and the unspoken-for, even amongst claims that my fight is inherently un-Christian, because, to bastardize Romans 8:31, if God is for us, then who can be against us?
When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a Communist- Dom Helder Camara