If I lay my Bible flat on my table, open it up, then what do I see? The Protest Tradition of Scripture. It’s unmistakably there.
From the galloping tales and heartfelt instruction manuals of Moses, to the cliff-edged mysteries of the apocalypse written by the apostle John, the Scriptural tradition of railing against the blind, wayward march of humanity is unavoidably present, in-your-face, so to speak.
Basically, it’s Yahweh, Creator of the universe, speaking to humans: “You should know better.”
He holds humanity accountable for knowing the truth, but deliberately living in open defiance against the truth. In the Scriptures, these protests are directed against both groups and individuals, with the basic gist of calling the people to repentance, which means a radical change of attitude and behaviour.
“So what?” you ask.
So . . . Christians over the centuries, and especially Western Evangelicals of late, have missed out on the Protest Tradition of the Scriptures, to their own peril. As a result, instead of fulfilling their intended, stated goals of pleasing Yahweh, knowing, loving and obeying Him, Christians themselves have become the enemy, the very targets of protest against whom the Biblical prophets, apostles and Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) Himself, raised their voices.
The only way out? Heed the protesting voices:
“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
SNIPPETS OF PROTEST FROM VARIOUS PLACES IN THE BIBLE:
1 Samuel 15:22-23
2 Corinthians 11
Galatians 2:11-21; 3:1-7; 4:16-20
James 4:1-12; 5:1-6
1 John 3:10-23
3 John 9-12
“Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”
(Galatians 4:16 NKJ)
“Open your mouth for the speechless,
In the cause of all who are appointed to die.
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And plead the cause of the poor and needy.”
(Proverbs 31:8-9 NKJ)
“Behold, God is mighty,
But despises no one;
He is mighty in strength of understanding.
He does not preserve the life of the wicked,
But gives justice to the oppressed.”
(Job 36:5-6 NKJ)
“Cease to do evil,
Learn to do good;
Reprove the oppressor;
Defend the fatherless,
Plead for the widow.”
(Isaiah 1:16-17 NKJ)
“I know the LORD will maintain
The cause of the afflicted,
And justice for the poor.”
(Psalm 140:12 NKJ)
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots .
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.
His delight is in the fear of the LORD,
And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
But with righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.”
(Isaiah 11:1-4 NKJ)
“Defend the poor and fatherless;
Do justice to the afflicted and needy.
Deliver the poor and needy;
Free them from the hand of the wicked.”
(Psalm 82:3-4 NKJ)
“Do not remove the ancient landmark,
Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;
For their Redeemer is mighty;
He will plead their cause against you.”
(Proverbs 23:10-11 NKJ)
“Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate;
For the LORD will plead their cause,
And plunder the soul of those who plunder them.”
(Proverbs 22:22-23 NKJ)
“He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches,
And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.”
(Proverbs 22:16 NKJ)
“Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?”
(Proverbs 24:11-12 NKJ)
“The helpless commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless . . .
LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble;
You will prepare their heart;
You will cause Your ear to hear,
To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
That the man of the earth may oppress no more.”
(Psalm 10:14, 17-18 NKJ)
“’For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy,
Now I will arise,’ says the LORD;
‘I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.’”
(Psalm 12:5 NKJ)
“Then they (the goats) will answer Him (Yeshua), saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these (My brothers), you did not do it to Me.’ And these (goats) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous (who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, took in the strangers, clothed the naked, visited the sick and the prisoners) into eternal life.” (Matthew 25:44-46 NKJ)
“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27 NKJ)