“Thus says the Lord of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another, do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against one another in your heart.”
There are some times when the Bible can feel complicated and confusing. Thankfully, there are plenty of other times when God makes it very clear what is good and right and pleasing to him. In this verse, it’s very straightforward. God desires for us to judge wisely, be kind, show mercy, take care of widows, orphans, immigrants, the poor, and all kinds of oppressed people. These things aren’t hidden or mysterious. God makes them plain and simple.
You’ll notice another thing about this passage: it doesn’t come with a list of ifs or buts. It stands alone and it stands without condition. Interestingly enough, the verses directly following this describe how the people didn’t like these words and refused to listen to them, and so the nation of Israel was scattered.
When we pretend like these simple commands are complicated and we find ways to convince ourselves that these aren’t really requirements of God’s people, we make ourselves like the Israelites. In reality, we’re just refusing to listen to the words of God. The truth is, in practice these things are difficult. They require us to be selfless – think of others before ourselves. That’s counterintuitive. That’s difficult. It’s not our human nature, but it’s God’s.
As Christians, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us in these things. The Spirit helps us to become more and more like God, and less like the sinful nature of our flesh. That, and that alone, is how we achieve these standards.
We know what you have called us to do, and we know that it can be hard, but we ask that you send us your Spirit to guide us. Help us to reject our sinful nature and be selfless like Jesus.
In His Name,