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Posts Tagged ‘justice’


I’m reading through Zechariah these days.  In chapter 7 some of the people send representatives to Zechariah to hear from God about a particular issue.  Ever since the destruction of Jerusalem, and the exile, the people have celebrated a fast.  Now that they are back in the land, they want to know if they should continue this fast on the anniversary.  It would be like us wondering if there should be a commemorative fasts on 9/11.

God’s response was- you’re missing the boat.  Their fast had nothing to do with seeking God.  It was home, not God, that they missed.  They had not learned their lesson, for this was the same message proclaimed long ago by prophets like Isaiah (see chapter 58 in particular).  Now here is my point-

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: Judge fairly and honestly, and show mercy and kindness to one another.  Do not oppress widows, orphans, foreigners, and poor people.  And do not make evil plans to harm each other.” (NLT)

Note the parallelism.  To judge fairly and show mercy & kindness are the opposite of oppressing others.  As a result, the one another includes the widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor- those most likely to be oppressed since they had no means of resisting evil.

We fool ourselves if we think we’re obeying God as long as we aren’t oppressing widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor.  God’s will for us is to show them mercy and kindness as well.  This is part of righteous living, part of bestowing righteousness on them.

Adoption is one way to show kindness and mercy to orphans.  It is a way in which our faith is expressed in love toward God and others (which in Galatians 5:6 is the only thing that matters).  It moves us out of a self-centered quasi- or counterfeit faith.  Or better put, reveals we have genuine saving faith- the kind that results in obedience (James 2, Ephesians 2:10).

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I started reading Generous Justice by Tim Keller today.  While the book is not about adoption and orphan care, it certainly has some great implications for them.

He starts with talking about Micah 6:8, that we walk humbly before God by acting justly and loving mercy.  They are connected, not separate.

“In Micah 6:8, “misphat puts the emphasis on the action, chesedh puts it on the attitude [or motive] behind the action.”  To walk with God, then, we must do justice, out of merciful love.”

In other words, because we love mercy we act justly.  As Christians, we have received mercy (and Jesus received the retributive justice we deserved).  As the gospel transforms us, Jesus makes us people who are merciful (Mt. 5) and pursue the rights of others.

“Over and over again, misphat describes taking up the care and cause of widows, orphans, immigrants, and the poor- those who have been called “the quartet of the vulnerable.””

He quotes a number of passages which use justice to describe how we are to treat those who are often defenseless.  Among those are Zechariah 7:10-11, Deuteronomy 27:19, Jeremiah 22:3 and Deuteronomy 4:6-8.

“If believers in God don’t honor the cries and claims of the poor, we don’t honor him, whatever we profess, because we hide his beauty from the eyes of the world.”

In other words, God’s people are supposed to manifest his beauty and glory as we care for such people in great need.  The church, and individual Christians, should want to glorify God by, in part, caring for orphans.  Adoption glorifies God precisely because it is just, in addition to merciful.

Keller makes the argument (which I agree with) that to not do such things is in fact unjust.  We are unrighteous when we close our ears to their cries, and our wallets to their legitimate needs.  Adoption is one way to respond to their cries, and meet the need of orphans for parents to protect and provide for them.  Are you listening?

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