Pursue Justice for the Oppressed, Widows, and Orphans
A short passage in the book of Isaiah warns against those who make unjust laws to deprive the marginalized of their rights. Isaiah targets the lawmakers. In doing so, he seeks to protect the oppressed, widows, and orphans. He calls us to pursue justice.
But this isn’t just a warning for legislators, it’s a passage for all of us.
Don’t Make Unjust Laws
At a first read, these two verses seem to only apply to those who make laws. This pertains to the politicians who enact laws and the bureaucracy that provides the details. This is a great place to start, but it doesn’t end there. This passage also has lessons for all of us.
Don’t Use Unjust Laws
Merely because there is a law, doesn’t mean it’s a good one. In fact, many laws are unfair; they’re unjust, favoring one group over another. Just because a law allows us to do something, doesn’t mean we should.
Sometimes to pursue justice means to not avail ourselves to a law that treats some people unfairly. Even though we may have a right to do something, the moral response is to not do it—even though the law says we can.
Pursue Justice by Opposing Unjust Laws
A final implication of this passage applies to all people. If we discover an unjust law, we should do what we can to overturn that law and replace it with a fair one. Or perhaps the best response is simply to seek to overturn that law.
Most people don’t fit into the group of lawmakers or the groups marginalized by unjust laws. Most of us don’t make the laws or suffer from them. If this is you, your job is to work to turn unjust laws into just ones. We must all pursue justice.
Read more about the book of Isaiah in For Unto Us: 40 Prophetic Insights About Jesus, Justice, and Gentiles from the Prophet Isaiah available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.