No Justice, No Peace!

By Rev. J. Loren Russell

Zechariah 7:8-10 NKJV

“Then the word of the Lord came to Zechariah, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:
‘Execute true justice,
Show mercy and compassion
Everyone to his brother.
Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless,
The alien or the poor.
Let none of you plan evil in his heart
Against his brother.’ But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear.”

More than an idiom, “no justice, no peace,” has roots in the Bible. Somewhere around 518 BC, the prophet Zechariah confronted the priests and prophets and told them that their motive and attitude were essential components of fasting and praying. They text says that they had been praying and fasting, but they were doing it to serve their own needs, not to give glory to God, or intercede for the people (v. 5). The motive must be to give glory to God, coupled with an attitude of gratitude for being chosen as a part of this magnificent task.

One commentator in the Spirit Filled Life Bible says of fasting and praying, “Godliness involves godly practices from a godly heart. God rebukes those who fast or practice other religious acts to serve their own end” (p. 1380). Obedience to the directive to having the proper motive and attitude are paramount in the practice of all religious activities, not just fasting or praying. The text speaks to the results of faithful obedience, that of mercy and compassion shown by everyone to their brother, no attempt to defraud, violate, deceive, or oppress widows, the fatherless, the foreigner, the alien, the stranger, or the poor. Authentic fasting and praying has no plans to afflict, harm, trouble, or do evil against a brother. (When the Bible speaks of brothers, it is inclusive of women and children alike.) This is justice in action and peace in the making.

When there was no authentic fasting, praying, or other religious practices, when the priests and the prophets sought their own good and ignored the justice demanded by God, the text says, “great wrath came from the Lord of hosts” (v. 12). Verse 14 says that the Lord “scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known.” If there is no justice, there will be no peace.

In today’s society, true justice is still necessary. In whatever field you are employed or engaged, the exercise of true justice is required. I believe that the blessings of the Lord have prepared us, especially those who consider themselves to be believers, to bring justice to the people. We have been strategically placed in every area of society and given a charge to act justly and bring peace, the kind of peace that surpasses all human understanding…, it’s called “shalom.”

We must listen for the prophetic Word of God, even when the Word condemns our actions, or challenges us to make difficult changes. Always remember that you have been gifted in one or more areas of life to bring about long-term fruitfulness and well-being; justice and peace. To deny or reject the mandate to do justly will always reveal, where there is no justice, there can be no peace.
Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial Strategy & Consulting; an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx; creator & host of “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM on Facebook LIVE and author of Matters of Faith: The Book (eBook available at Smashwords).

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