In Isaiah 1:17, YHVH tells us “Learn to do good. Seek justice, relieve the oppressed, defend orphans and plead for the widow.” If Yeshua were to return today, would He find justice in the world? Let us examine some statistics on each of the three categories mentioned in Isaiah, both worldwide and in the United States.
Oppressed people are often homeless, jobless or underemployed, and usually lack basic necessities. They are among the most vulnerable and abused of people, but are the least able to defend themselves or to make their voices heard. They are the “Lazarus” of Yeshua’s parable found in Luke 16:19-31.
- The United Nations Commission on Human Rights reports that as of 2005, over 100 million people were homeless worldwide.
- In a 2004 study on homelessness in 50 United States cities, the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reported that each city’s official estimate of homeless people greatly exceeded the number of emergency shelter and transitional housing spaces available. As of 2008, an average of 26 percent of homeless people were considered mentally ill, 13 percent were physically disabled, 19 percent were victims of domestic violence, and 13 percent were veterans (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008).
- According to UNICEF, 22 million children worldwide die from poverty each day.
- Almost 1 in 4 (16 million) children in the United States live in families with income below the federal poverty level (National Center for Children in Poverty, 2014).
- According to the Christian Alliance for Orphans, there are 153 million orphans worldwide.
- Approximately 245 million women around the world have been widowed and more than 115 million of them live in devastating poverty (“Invisible Forgotten Sufferers: The Plight of Widows around the World”, 2010).
- In the United States over 48% of the elderly poor are widows, even though widowed women are only 26% of the over-65 population (“Invisible Forgotten Sufferers: The Plight of Widows around the World”, 2010).
Multitudes in the world are dying from a lack of justice. For individuals these figures are overwhelming. What can one person or a small group of people do to make any significant impact? However, as of 2010 there were over 2 billion Christians worldwide. (“Global Christianity—A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World’s Christian Population,” Dec. 19 2011). It is time to die to ourselves, set aside our differences, and unite with our brothers and sisters in Yeshua. As a united Body of Messiah Yeshua what could we do to address these and many other injustices in the world? As an individual, what is YHVH calling you to do?