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 The Prophet's Central Point - Justice
Jeremy Del Rio

"More than a theoretical construct or philosophical pursuit, for the Hebrew prophets justice was a central point, if not the point, of the story. 'What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Mic 6:8 NIV)

Justice and it sisters Mercy and Grace are what a loving God offered fallen humanity. In justice, mercy and grace, God forgave sin, provided redemption, and promised the Messiah. They fueled the exodus from slavery and comforted a dejected mountain top cleric in a still small voice. They empowered the stutterer-turned-spokesman, the prostitute-turned-great-grandmother to a king, and the shepherd boy-turned-giant slayer. 'Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live. (Deut. 16:20)' 

Justice restores fractured relationships. It's both the pathway and the destination of the law of God codified on Sinai and fulfilled by Jesus. It foreshadowed the incarnate Christ whole mission became good news for the poor, freedom for prisoners, healing for the sick, and release for the oppressed. 'For I the Lord love justice. (Isa. 61:8) ...

Read in context, the prophets challenge us to see God-and our world-in a new way. Rick Warren's public confession at a Pew Forum in 2005 serves as a model for so many of us. 'I had to say, "God, I repent, because I can't think of the last time I thought of widows and orphans." ... And so I went back and I began to read Scripture, and it was like blinders came off....I've got three advanced degrees. I've had four years in Greek and Hebrew and I've got doctorates....I went to two different seminaries and a Bible school; how did I miss the 2,000 verses on the poor?'

Many of those two thousand verses can be found in the writings of what Christians term the Old Testament prophets. They define how to love God and others well even in a broken world characterized by pai and degradation."

Del Rio is a leader of 20/20 Vision for Schools and is a corporate attorney. "Prophets of Justice" in The Justice Project edited by Brian McLaren, Elisa Padilla and Ashley Seeber, Baker Books, 2009, 79-80.

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