Justice is Turned Back

by Mary Beth on January 18, 2022

“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stand far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter. Truth is lacking, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey.” Is. 59:14,15.

Isaiah’s prophecies from the Living Word are just as relevant today. Scripture continues to resonate belief through a living whisper, pointing to the prevalent absurdities displayed in our individualistic culture lacking in truth and justice. I’ve enjoyed helpful insights from Matthew Henry’s commentary on Isaiah 59.

  1. Decay of moral honesty; pluralism runs with a compromised condition of double-heartedness tolerated in society. But a government in which the majority rule in all cases cannot be based on justice, even as far as men understand it. Can there not be a government in which majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? —in which majorities decide only those questions to which the rule of expediency is applicable? Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? “I think we should be men first, and subjects second.” -Henry David Thoreau.”
  2. Instead of reforming the land, justice is turned back; moving backwards. The administration of justice has become but a cover to the greatest injustice. Judgement, that should check the proceedings of fraud and violence, is driven back, and so they go on triumphantly. Justice stand far off, even from our courts of judicatory, which are so crowded with the patrons of oppression that equity cannot enter, cannot have admission into the court, cannot be heard, or at least will not be heeded.
  3. The standard of truth is lost among society; lies, falsehood, entitlement, individualism, selfish ambition, and idolatry proudly shouts a depth of chaos and evil. Resulting in a massive stumbling or void of truthful, godly leadership in our personal communities and churches. Also, within our political leaders. “Truth is fallen in the street, and there she may lie to be trampled upon by every foot of pride, and she has never a friend that will lend a hand to help her up; yea, truth fails in common conversation, and in dealings between man and man, so that one knows not whom to believe nor whom to trust.”

Earlier in Isaiah 59: 9-13 further reveals their conscience acknowledging, owning, and despairing of the sins that stare them in the face. They don’t know what to do, “Our hope is lost; we don’t know what to do.”

Did they acknowledge personal or social sin? What sin? Who will know? Will anyone see? Shame and guilt eventually reveals itself, for sin in its nature is active not passive. Parasitic in nature, sin feeds on the good to invert, taint, spoil, damage, or steal one’s very life. The evil purpose to rob and destroy. Evil is complicated and dark, so justice is not easily attainable for us apart from Christ.

The sin in our individual lives and collective humanity, originally exists inherently. We are born within total depravity upon arrival in our earthly human nature, until we are saved by the divine mercy and grace of Jesus Christ. Only God can redeem our souls from guilt and shame; from the significant strongholds that affect our soul. Through Christ Jesus we gain a new nature; as a new creation in Christ. This is our Almighty God’s gracious plan and purpose in Christ, for our initial salvation and ongoing sanctification.

God created the heavens and the earth, and all that lives by His gracious mercies. He sustains by His providential hand of goodness, order and rhythm. Righteousness goes before Him. However, mankind in a depraved state, has rejected justice, truth, righteousness, and uprightness.

What are we to do? How should we then live? The questions continue to challenge us today, as much as in the day from the prophetic voice of Francis A. Schaeffer.

“People have value systems in the basic way an individual looks at life, their values and decisions through a worldview in which we see the world. A Proverb is most profound in stating, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Humanists are sure that man starting from himself could solve every problem…a complete faith in man to solve it all. Rome did not fall because of external forces such as the invasion of the barbarians. Rome had no sufficient inner base; the barbarians only completed the breakdown-and Rome gradually became a ruin.”

The Reformation ushered in a great awakening, challenging and yet benefitting the local, ordinary believer. Amazingly, biblical theology was finally available for all to own and understand the holy Scriptures in their own language. By the power of the Holy Spirit, leading conviction of our depravity from the Fall; comfort in our significance, value, dignity and beliefs derived from the clarity, authority, and necessity of Scripture. Further to value a biblical worldview of God, the Gospel message of reconciliation, and God’s will for spiritual maturity. Although times have improved and changed indeed, our societies reveal modern man is still in need of a godly reformation. God’s Word will not return empty. It shall accomplish and succeed. Is. 55:11,12. The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

It’s common to doubt God’s sovereignty and goodness, specifically when we encounter everyday trials or terrible suffering with evil times and leaders. Moses, Joseph, Esther, Job, Martha, and Peter remind us how limited our capacities are to understand or even respond with eternity in mind. Yet God is with us, always active and present in pursuing and purposing good for those who love Him.

Three areas to encourage our souls:

Prayer:

“Doubt swells and surges, with swelling doubt behind! My soul in storm is but a tattered sail, streaming its ribbons on the torrent gale; In calm, ‘tis but a limp and flapping thing; Oh, swell it with thy breath; make it a wing, To sweep through Thee the ocean, with Thee the wind, nor rest until in Thee its haven it shall find.”

Diary of an Old Soul, George MacDonald.

Praise:

Consider beautiful hymns: Be Thou My Vision, This is My Father World, Before the Throne of God Above, A Mighty Fortress, Rock of Ages.

Promises:

Meditate on the character and promises of God throughout Scripture. Guiding us to understand His wisdom, providence and powerful hand that sustains and cares for what He creates. Including us!

-Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?

-Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand?

-Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him? Is. 40:12-14, 18.

How grateful we must be that God preserves a remnant for His glory. He has worked in and through mankind from generation to generation, for our good and His glory.

George Washington stated, “Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light.” We hear and see many like-minded individuals and believers counting the cost AND taking a stand with their conscience to live out the truth.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the purposes, power, and promises, the Holy Spirit may abound in our hearts with hope. Rom. 15:13

Grace and peace,

Mary

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His Hand Prescribes

by Mary Beth on June 8, 2021

“Nay, all by Thee is ordered, chosen, planned;
Each drop that fills my daily cup Thy Hand Prescribes,
for ills none else can understand:
All, all is known to Thee.”
~A. L. NEWTON.
*

 We often struggle to understand and receive all

from the hand of God.

God has revealed within His Creation and within His powerful Word,

to understand and to know Him-

that He is abundantly generous

and wise with His goodness,

rhythm and order in all things.

 His sovereignty and divine attributes

of goodness, immutability, eternity,

and holiness speak into our ordinary lives day by day.

For underneath are the everlasting arms of God;

His abundant steadfast love greets us each day.

Yet, many in our decadent society demand foolish entitlements to live in their preferred individualistic, grade school mentality, of branding and renaming anything or everything that threatens their idolatry or false freedoms of sexual lifestyles, identity, or feelings.

Thomas Schreiner writes,

“Human beings must recognize that they are not

masters of the universe.

They cannot supplement what God has done or reverse

what he has ordained.

They are to acknowledge his greatness and fear him.

Human beings do not manage their lives; life manages them.  

Vanity and futility and absurdity characterize human life.

Life is unpredictable and unfair.

The famous poem on time, in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8,

emphasizes that human beings must respond to life as it occurs.”

*

An earlier blog post,

“It Is Time”

reflects on this very point

of a time for every season.

As Scripture encourages us to walk in the fear of the LORD,

let us remember God our Creator,

and to enjoy life to the glory of God.

Find joy in God’s daily gifts,
receiving from his hand the
new mercies He graciously gives us
each resurrected day.

*

“Qohelet argues that God keeps us ignorant about the future

in order to convince us that we cannot manipulate God in that way.

That is the essence of what it means to ‘fear’ God:

to recognize that God’s favor cannot be controlled

by anything we humans do.”

Is this not grace, to stand in His great hand?

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Chosen Friends

by Mary Beth on April 3, 2021

“{Pain} removes the veil, it plants the flag of truth within the

fortress of a rebel soul.”   ~C.S.Lewis

Holy Week or Passion week

we remember our Lord Jesus,

our suffering Servant.

Jesus suffered as a thing to be despised; 

rejected by man, a man of sorrows,

 and familiar with suffering.

The Prince of Peace was perceived as someone punished,

struck by God and brought low.

Jesus suffered for us, Luther writes.

“Son to the mercy of sinners.” ~Is. 53:2-5 & Lam. 1: 12, 16, 21

*

-Jesus endured suffering.

Even His own disciples failed to understand His mission and kingdom rule of sacrificial love for God’s glory.

By their actions, they added to His pain.

-All the disciples left him and ran away. ~Matt. 26:56

Jesus loved enough to patiently endure this pain of betrayal.

Likewise as followers of Christ,

we’ll encounter painful trials of rejection,

betrayal, misunderstandings and

“bruising” from those closest to us;

even chosen friends.

*

-By His grace we’ll endure suffering.

As a writer and poet,

  writing Chosen Friends provided

a healing process for me,

 after a painful betrayal

experienced from a friend.

Through the obedient life of our great Shepherd;

His gentle and creative guidance,

specifically while observing Lent-

provided a balm that gently blew a

new perspective into my soul like none other.

From Genesis to Revelation,

we understand the painful depravity

experienced within our humanity.

Christ offers His example and strength to love patiently;

to endure trials through prayer, forgiveness, and seek

godly counsel to discern if any response is wise or beneficial.

Often we need to pray with David,

that our words and meditation would be pleasing to the Lord,

especially to navigate through challenging relationships

and in our society

that encourages an individualistic and bravado attitude.

Help me to understand such love and courage.

*

Chosen Friends

Chosen friends are but trouble,

Unless walking side by side.

The soul exposing an imposter; a double.

Truth that sharpens, cuts and divides.

Many claim boldly to love.

Offering a shadow of service,

What is the kiss?

Betrayal or an honest answer?

Conditional, upon the well they sip.

God of all comfort & compassion oversee,

A boldness must breathe, rest and plea,

Content in our deeper soul, I pray.

Mighty Warrior of the soul,

Tear the veil;

chip away, and awaken our hearts.

Reign through your beauty and art.

                                                                     ~mba

bleeding heart logo

“But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, 
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
                     ~2 Corinthians 3: 17
*

-Perseverance of the Saints

“Therefore, my brothers, therefore, sisters dear,
However I, troubled or selfish,  
fail in tenderness, or grace, or service clear,
I every moment draw to you more near;
God in us from our hearts veil after veil
Keeps lifting, till we see with his own sight, And all together run in unity’s delight.”
~George MacDonald, Diary of an Old Soul

The gospel message of Christ,

the sacrifice of His life and death on the cross,

speaks volumes about God and His gracious offer both of

forgiving love, and His serious wrath to all sin.

Both love and wrath meet at the cross.

Both mercy and grace join together at the cross of Christ.

God’s tenacious love, truth and merciful call

for our obedience to be holy, will show forth as fruit on a tree.

Job personally and painfully experienced this costly truth,

which sharpened his soul among friends.

*

As Rabbi Abraham Heschel states: 

“Faith like Jobs cannot be shaken

because it is the result of having been shaken.”

Our experiences of betrayal or trials

are significant and painful struggles.

Suffering presents a theater of questions

that perhaps encircle our beliefs;

often to potentially shake the foundation of our faith.

How might we be hopeful when the winds blow,

or when we feel like we’re drowning, or the skies darken?

We will stumble. We will err. We will fall. We will grieve.

As Job, how might we learn from the wrestle,

to grow our trust in God’s providential love and watchful care?

To trust within the deep waters,

the hard to understand questions of the soul.

Questions flood into our minds and hearts with a force like an

ocean wave, regarding suffering and His sovereignty;

questions about our eternal God who sees,

knows, and hears all things.

We must encourage one another in His multitude of mercies,

to be among the perseverance of the saints.

Then we’ll proclaim as Job,

“I know that my Redeemer lives.”

*

 “How painful are honest words! 

Does he not see my ways and count my every step?

       If I have walked in falsehood or my foot

has hurried after deceit

—let God weigh me in honest scales and

He will know that I am blameless

                     –if my steps have turned from the path,

if my heart has been led by my eyes,

or if my hands have been defiled,

                      then may others eat what I have sown.”

                                                                       ~Job 6:25, 31: 4-8

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