How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked?
Give justice to the weak and the orphan;
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute.
Sin has consequences. People may not appreciate hearing this message.
1 Thessalonians 5:4-28
Paul is writing instructions to an early Christian congregation that remain quite applicable to modern ones.
Respect each other;Remember that letter is addressed to a congregation. We can gather in worship to sing hymns. But, Paul said "always." That kind of rejoicing would be a transformation in our daily life together in which we could recognize the gracious gifts that God has bestowed on us, the support that God's presence gives us to help in meeting everything that not so good that breaks into our daily lives, as well.
be responsible for each other;
be good to each other.
Pray without ceasing.
Give thanks in all circumstances.
Pray without ceasing. We pray in worship. We pray when we leave the building. We are always aware of God's presence. We are always aware that neither are we left alone to face the world nor can we alone conquer it.
Give thanks in all circumstances. Does Paul really expect us to be thankful in all circumstances? Or, is Paul reminding us that God is always leading us into new circumstances?
(If you read Preaching the Letters without Dismissing the Law by Allen & Williamson, you may recognize their influence on my thoughts.)
One troubling aspect in this psalm is that God will judge our actions.
Something else troubling is the actions that we are going to be accountable for. God is going to judge whether we
give justice to the weak and the orphanWe need to review this checklist as we determine how our church congregation should be involved with our neighborhoods and we need to review it as we determine what each of us personally is called to do.
maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute
rescue the weak and the needy
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.
How far does this Bible stuff go? Should we also think about this list as we make decisions on who to vote for?
Argue your case with your neighbor directly,
and do not disclose another's secret;
or else someone who hears you will bring shame upon you,
and your ill repute will have no end.
Prayer for Today: We turn to you today, O God, to guide us onto the path you offer us. Give us the ability to notice and the determination to care for the weak and the lowly. Amen.