‘You give them something to eat?’

‘The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.’ (Isaiah 11v2)

This scripture  ends in the Jerusalem Bible with the words ‘ The fear of Yahweh is his breath.’ Actually, in the verses that follows  we learn that …


‘...God does not judge by appearances, he gives no verdict on hearsay, but judges the  wretched with integrity and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land.’ ( v3-4)


Now, here’s the rub. While this Scripture foretells the future coming of One in whom the Holy Spirit lives that will right the wrongs of injustice of the world for the glory of God, for the christian believer (today) who has received the same spirit from God, the same is expected of us. It is also our calling  to

  • not judge by appearances
  • not sanction hearsay as truth
  • judge in favour of the poor, downtrodden and displaced

How different is this to the world we live in today where  the successful are lauded, people admire the wealthy who have made millions exploiting others or  have corrupted or done away with the systems that were established to address the needs of the poor and vulnerable.

Yet the work of the Holy Spirit is the converse of this – yes, in our lives we may experience the gift of tongues, prophesy and all manner of other things but we are a hollow gong if we are not driven by  the essence of love.  Why? Because God’s love is revealed through us to those who are mentally physically, spiritually and emotionally destitute. Rather like the thousands of people who found themselves drawn many miles away from their homes and families to a desolate place so that they could  listen to Jesus speak…but then found themselves without food and with no shelter. The same words that flummoxed the disciples that day who when telling Jesus to send the people  away because it was late and they  had no food to eat, still ring true for us today. ‘You give them something to eat!’ (Matt 14)

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