Act Justly 1 – to loose the chains of injustice Isaiah 58:6

What does the Lord require of you? To Act Justly…

A series of studies adapted by Peter based on material by Christian Aid.
Session 1: A call to act justly
Session 2: Social action
Session 3: Drop the debt
Session 4: Fair trade combined with Justice in global trade
Session 5: An ethical lifestyle

Session 1: A call to act justly – To loose the chains of injustice

‘With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings…? He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’ (Micah 6:6, 8)

Read Isaiah 58:1-14

‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen…’ (Isaiah 58:6)

Isaiah speaks to us from a time of turmoil and uncertainty. The empires that surrounded Judah were competing for land and superiority. How could such a small nation survive? But Isaiah saw a vision of a Holy God, high and lifted up. The message Isaiah delivered to the people of Judah called them back to a God of the whole earth. This brought hope for their future but, with it, judgement for their sin.
1. In which ways were the people obeying God’s commands? (vv1-3)
2. What are they condemned for doing? (vv3-5)
3. How is the fast that God requires different from the lives they are living? (vv6-12)
4. What effect would God’s fast have on them as individuals and a nation? (vv6-14)
5. Compare the ways we seek God now with ‘the chosen fast’ from the passage.
One interpretation of the passage is that being religious, or even having compassion and showing charity, are not enough. We must ‘loose the chains of injustice’ to tackle the root causes of injustice in our world, through action on issues such as unjust global trade, international debt and our lifestyle in rich countries. Act Justly will show us many ways in which we can help transform our world.

1. Discuss the difference between meeting people’s immediate needs and ‘loosing the chains of injustice’.
2. What should WE be doing to “loose the chains of injustice” in society and in the world?
As Christians we are called to ‘act justly’, because God is a God of justice and love. We are challenged to learn what it means to ‘loose the chains of injustice’ (Isaiah 58:6) in our world and to work to transform our world. Today, this may include finding out about the root causes of global injustice and taking action, as campaigners, consumers and in the way that we live. This session calls us to act justly.

‘I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.’ (Psalm 140:12)
‘The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.’ (Proverbs 29:7)

‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ (Proverbs 31:8,9)

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