Here are some words from the Book of Isaiah:
Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees, who write oppressive statutes, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be your spoil, and that you may make the orphans your prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, in the calamity that will come from far away? To whom will you flee for help, and where will you leave your wealth, so as not to crouch among the prisoners or fall among the slain? For all this his anger has not turned away; his hand is stretched out still. Isa 10:1-4.
Isaiah was warning the people of the southern kingdom of Judah that God would use the much more powerful Kingdom of Assyria to punish Israel for its mistreatment of the poor and the unfortunate. This prophecy came true eventually. The powerful Kingdoms of Assyria and later, Babylon, overtook all of Israel and absorbed it into its provincial system, resettling much of the population to destroy Israel’s national identity. For the Jewish people there could not be a worse fate.
Isaiah was interpreting recent history in a way that gave meaning to his Country’s destruction. But his prophecy also contains a universal truth. When the political and social elite of any nation make laws and policies that hurt the poor, the widow, the orphan or the sojourner, bad things are bound to happen. Whether you call it the wrath of God, or just cause and effect, the result of oppression is certain. Such a nation would be sowing the seeds of its own eventual destruction.
In ancient Israel the poor, the widow, the orphan and the sojourner had a protected status. The prophets of Israel reminded the Judges and the Kings that their people once sojourned in the land of Egypt. This is a guiding principal that forms the foundation for our culture and civilization. If we reject this we are asking for destruction. Isaiah was not just talking about ancient Israel.
Lynn Jinks is an attorney with Jinks, Crow & Dickson, P.C.