When we ignore social justice, we ignore Jesus – Ezekiel 21-23, Part 5

Anytime injustice is present in a society, it breaks God’s heart. As we learned in the previous post, injustice was quite prevalent in Israel. The people of Jerusalem had rebelled against God, some committing injustice, others ignoring the ones who committed it.

To illustrate this awful rebellion, God has one more very intense story to tell the people in chapter 23.  Chapter 23 is another allegorical parable, and because it has the same message as the prophecies we’ve already heard in chapters 20-22, I’ll just summarize it.  In Chapter 23, God likens Israel’s Northern and Southern Kingdoms to sisters who prostitute themselves to foreign nations and idols, and they will eventually die because at the hand of foreigners.

But look at the very last line of the chapter.  In verse 49, God says, “Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord.”  There’s that phrase again!  All of chapter 23 is a bitter allegorical parable where God is saying that Israel has betrayed him, and he just wants to be known by them.   

As we conclude, I want to return to the message of chapter 22, because the message there is so relatable.  In chapter 22, God says that the people practiced wicked false worship and they practiced social injustice.  God’s heart breaks not only when we are purveyors of injustice but also when we ignore it.  We can commit injustice both by sins of commission and sins of omission.  A sin of commission is when we actively, intentionally do something wrong.  Theft, cheating, lying, and so on.  A sin of omission is when we don’t do the right thing we should do.  When we don’t pray, when we don’t give, or when we don’t address injustice. 

Injustice breaks God’s heart.  In Ezekiel 22 he clearly expresses his deep emotion that his people were mistreating others.  But maybe you’re thinking, “Ok, but I’m not like that.  I’m not making anyone a slave or widow or orphan.”  Jesus addressed that when he expressed the same emotion in his teaching of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25.  Turn to Matthew 25:31-46 and read Jesus’ parable.

Do you see the message that breaks Jesus’ heart? When we ignore social injustice, we ignore Jesus! 

Can we apply Jesus’ teaching from ancient Israel to our world in 2021?  I recently heard a quote that seeks to apply Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats to our contemporary world:

“Jesus is the refugee.  The man on death row. The child at the border.  The single mom with two jobs.  The person with a disability.  The friend with an addiction.  The transgender co-worker. The kid with no lunch money (although that one doesn’t apply as much, as I am writing this during a pandemic when many schools offer free lunches to all students).  How you treat them is how you treat Jesus.”

This is not a political statement.  It is a biblical one.  Let us not be like Israel who committed acts of social injustice and ignored God’s heart.  Let’s instead be like Jesus who preached the Gospel in both word and deed, balanced. 

This is why Faith Church supports the local Christian social services agency started by our ministerium. Conestoga Valley Christian Community Services reaches out to our community helping those in need.  CVCCS has recently started an initiative called Connect, in which they connect clients, who show interest, to a local church.  In the last month, CVCCS has connected Faith Church and two clients.

Consider the balanced approach demonstrated in Connect.  We support CVCCS who is helping the clients with their physical needs, and CVCCS supports us as we seek to minister spiritually to clients.  I love that balance.  We see Jesus in the clients and we seek to lift them up in word and deed.  Our hearts beat for this because God’s heart beats for this. 

We share the love of Christ in word and deed to our community.   

Photo by Stefan Spassov on Unsplash

Published by joelkime

I love my wife, Michelle, and our four kids and two daughters-in-law. I serve at Faith Church and love our church family. I teach a course online from time to time, and in my free time I love to read and exercise, especially running,

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