• Pastor Tommy Rhodes

Lamenting Ones

“Love does NOT rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.” - 1 Corinthians 13:6

Do you know what the opposite of rejoice is? I’m sure you do. It’s lament. God’s love laments over injustice. Not only does God Himself lament over injustice, He expects those who bear the name of His Son to do the same. How many of you lament over injustice? When you see wrongdoings and injustice in the world around you, do you lament and wail out to God over it? Do the cries of the oppressed break your heart, drop you to your knees and spur you to action on their behalf? Do you even hear them? I ask this question not to judge nor to condemn, but to bring your heart to the surface so that the Holy Spirit may cleanse and flush out any impurities; that you may begin to love the things God loves and lament over what He laments over. How ironic is it that this characteristic of love in 1 Corinthians 13:6 is the tenth one listed? The number 10 has great significance in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew letter that equals ten is a Yod [pronounced: yode]. The symbolic meaning of the Yod is "God’s hand." It symbolizes God’s hand at work in our lives. What is being said in all of this? When you consider the tenth characteristic or the tenth slice of the fruit of God’s love, He wants you to know that His mighty hand is a work against all injustice. If Love Himself does not find joy in injustice but works mightily against it everywhere, those who follow His Son must do the same. You don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s turn to the Scriptures. Notice what the Lord Jesus said in Luke 4: 17-21.

17 “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him, and unrolling the scroll, he found the place where it was written: 18 The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. 20 He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 He began by saying to them, “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled.”” ‭‭

Jesus declared that He was the fulfillment of what the prophet Isaiah spoke of in Isaiah 61:1-2. The Spirit of the Lord was upon Him and had anointed him for that specific purpose. Take a closer look at what He said at the end of verse 18, “ set free the oppressed...” Part of His purpose was to set the oppressed free. Hallelujah! All throughout Scripture we can find the mighty hand of God at work in the lives of the oppressed bringing deliverance, freedom and justice! Let’s go even further, shall we? In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, the very first thing He declares is that those who are poor in spirit are blessed (Matthew 5:3). If you do a quick study into the phrase “poor in spirit” you will discover that Jesus was referring to the lowly, the afflicted, the helpless; those destitute of wealth, influence and honor. He was speaking to Galileans. What you should know about the Galileans is that they were people who lived in darkness (Matthew 4:16) — not simply the darkness of sin, but rather they were people who lived in the dark shadows of the educated and privileged culture. Jesus considered them to be “blessed” because they most readily gave themselves up to the teachings of Christ. Often times when people come from nothing, are considered low class, uneducated and poor, and don't have the opportunities of the wealthy, they tend to cherish the treasures that the privileged take for granted. This was the case with Galileans. The people who had lived in darkness had seen a great light (Matthew 4:15-16) and followed Jesus wherever He went, thus proving themselves fit to lay hold of the heavenly treasure. As a side bar, His first disciples (Peter, Andrew, James and John) were also from Galilee.

When we read Matthew 25:35-40 it’s clear that the underserved, the outcast, the overshadowed, the bruised, the oppressed, the blind and the broken are at the center of Jesus’ heart. The Lord of the broken compels us to be moved with compassion to stand beside the broken, help the helpless, care for the hurting, feed the hungry, speak for the speechless, rescue the oppressed and fight against injustice, everywhere. We must be moved into action. Is it not written that we should not love in word or in speech, but in action and in truth?

1 John 3:16-18 CSB “This is how we have come to know love: He laid down his life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has this world’s goods and sees a fellow believer in need but withholds compassion from him — how does God’s love reside in him?”

Those words and many others reverberate through every fiber of my being. Please, let it be known that what I write is for me as well. It's easy to love in word or in speech, but love doesn't just feel, it moves. Let me leave you with these lyrics from Tim Hughes' song entitled "God of Justice." May we ALL become broken vessels before God so that we may be put back together as He sees fit and filled with His perfect love — laying down our lives for the least of these and fighting against injustice as His lamenting ones.

"God of Justice, Saviour to all Came to rescue the weak and the poor Chose to serve and not be served
Jesus, You have called us Freely we've received now freely we will give
We must go, live to feed the hungry Stand beside the broken, we must go Stepping forward keep us from just singing Move us into action, we must go."


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