This is a text dealing with justice, and for that very reason it is a very difficult passage. When we’re children, justice seems fairly simple: just keep everything the same. My piece of pumpkin pie needs to be the same as my sister’s. My Christmas gifts should be equal to hers. But as we get older, we start to realize how hard this is. Should our slices of pie be more like the Senate (the same for all) or more like the House (you get more if you’re bigger)? Should our Christmas gifts cost our parents exactly the same amount of money, or is it okay if the value is the same even if the price they paid was different? And those are still quite simple matters. Open up a newspaper on any given day and you’ll see how difficult justice is. From gun violence and police shootings to education inequality and even fantasy sports, everyone is talking about justice, but few agree on what justice in each of these arenas precisely requires. It is an inherently difficult subject.
But it is one that God takes great interest in, because he is the author of justice. In fact, were there no god, justice would be a meaningless category. But because there is a God, and that God describes himself as just, justice matters. And our text helps us begin to see what it means.
Title: Just Deserts
Text: Isaiah 46.8–47.15