JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS! I have been reading through the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. You know books like Hosea, Joel and Amos. They are basically called Minor not because of their significance but rather because of their length. They are important or God would not have placed them in His Word. These books are full of God’s condemnation of Israel’s worship and social practices in contrast with their actual spiritual condition and treatment of fellow human beings. In the midst of Amos’ proclamation of God’s evaluation of Israel’s condition and the coming judgment of God on the nation Amos states what God desires of Israel in just a few words, “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!” (Amos 5:24 NIV). Both justice and righteousness had for all intents and purposes disappeared from Israel at this point in history and God’s judgment was imminent. This verse struck me as I read it and caused me to think of our own nation and the current situation concerning Justice and Righteousness in our society.
The United States is said to be a “nation of laws” and we certainly have enough laws. If people lived by the laws we already have we probably would never need many more passed and people could live together in peace and harmony. But at present people do not live by the laws we have and our Justice system is in total disarray and Justice is not really equal under the current laws and court system. Even in our U.S. Senate we can’t have an orderly hearing under the law to consider the appointment of a Judge to our highest court. Leaders of a political party organize methods to cause chaos and disruption to what should be an orderly process. God through the prophet Amos condemned the lack of Justice in Amos’ day and I am sure God frowns on our process today.
Israel had a huge system of “god worship.” The problem was that it was corrupt in every way and people worshipped “many gods” in corrupt and vile ways that caused GOD to vomit and pronounce His judgment on the entire nation. Today in our country we have much religion and many “houses of worship” reflecting beliefs in many “gods” and systems of “faith”. But our nation has very little Righteousness when compared to the total population we have. We have “freedom of religion” but if we measure our society by God’s standard of righteousness we have very little to be proud of and our comparison with other nations is not the same as measuring by God’s standards. What God desires in the United States, in fact the world, and especially in our lives as Christians is that we make sure we conduct our lives by letting “justice roll on like a river and righteousness like a never-failing stream.” If each of us Christians did that then maybe we could make more of an impact on a society that looks a lot like the day Amos lived in. Justice and Righteousness are important to God!