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Isaiah 59:1-8, Injustice and Oppression to Be Punished

Thursday, December 21

What Goes Around Comes Around

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

What goes around comes around. That is too simplified, of course, but essentially that's what this text is about. Israel has sinned and has been exiled for their sin. Isaiah makes sure they know they were not exiled because God is mean. It's because of their own sin. Their actions cause their own consequences.

So often, I hear people complain about things they experience, as if they had no part in it. So-and-so boss chewed me out for no reason. That stupid cop gave me a speeding ticket. We got into that fight and it's all my spouse's fault. Experience and the word of God suggest otherwise. Usually, when we're upset at something someone else did, we have a role to play, too. It's likely your boss chewed you out because you forgot to turn that thing in on time. The cop gave you a ticket because you were speeding. You and your spouse got into a fight because neither of you were willing to see from the other's point of view.

Let me be quite clear -- I am not talking about situations where one is a victim or survivor. Today I'm talking about the every-day decisions, words, and actions we make whose consequences come back to bite us.

When we start accepting our own part in every experience, we can live much more peaceful lives. We can learn from our mistake and the boss will be thrilled the next time when we turn it in early. We can drive slower and make the roads safer for everyone. We can turn the heat down on the arguments with our spouses, listen, apologize, forgive. All of these can lead to far more peaceful and happy lives for us and those around us.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Isaiah 59:1-8

See, the Lord’s hand is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. Rather, your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue mutters wickedness. No one brings suit justly, no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, conceiving mischief and begetting iniquity. They hatch adders’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web; whoever eats their eggs dies, and the crushed egg hatches out a viper. Their webs cannot serve as clothing; they cannot cover themselves with what they make. Their works are works of iniquity, and deeds of violence are in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they rush to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, desolation and destruction are in their highways. The way of peace they do not know, and there is no justice in their paths. Their roads they have made crooked; no one who walks in them knows peace.