17 learn to do right!
encourage the oppressed.
Defend the cause of the fatherless,
plead the case of the widow.
The What of Rebuke, Part III
Until now, the content of God’s rebuke recorded in Isaiah seems to be focused on getting Israel to stop their misinformed and idolatrous behavior, but here we see that there is yet an additional element to this admonition, that they begin to do what is right instead.
But before we go onto this, it is important to dwell on one point – that we cannot pick and choose when it comes to rebuke. This rebuke given in Isaiah is two-sided: to stop doing evil and learn to do right. It is not an either/or situation, but both/and. There is no choice of doing one and not the other – they are both part and parcel of what it means to be God’s people.
For us, some may put an end to behaviors and mentalities which do not glorify God… but just leave it at that, not taking up our responsibility to be a light unto others. And likewise, some of us may just want to do good things to balance out the evil that we have done, but allow the evil to remain. But this is only half the equation as well.
The closest analogy I can think of is when we go to the doctor, and he tells us that in order to prevent a heart attack, we have to stop eating fat and begin to exercise. BOTH are required in order to effectively safeguard our health, but how often do we choose the easier of the two? Or neither??
I think what this means is that when we find ourselves in a place of being rebuked by God, we need to not be hasty, but listen or discern the full content of what God may want from or for us, both stopping the sin as well as learning to do right. And though this would extend the process of rebuke, something that no one wants, we should allow it do so because, remember… it is our Father who is bringing it to our attention, and for our good.
1. Have you ever found yourself in a situation like this, where God wanted you to both stop, and start, doing something in your life?
2. Which do you typically find harder to do – stopping the wrongs, or learning the rights?
3. Why do you think both are so vital to address? Is it better to do one before the other?