Elijah Lovejoy was a Presbyterian minister who lived before the Civil War. After watching the lynching of a slave, he left the pulpit to fight for abolition. Mobs, threats, attempts on his life did not stop him. He once said, “I fear God more than I fear man. Crush me if you will, but I shall die at my post.” Four days after saying that, he died. A mob killed him and no one was indicted, but one recently elected legislator was deeply moved at Lovejoy’s death. His name was Abraham Lincoln. The prophet Isaiah wrote about injustices his people committed. In chapter 59, he said, “Our sins are piled up before God and testify against us. Yes, we know what sinners we are. We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. Truth stumbles in the streets and honesty has been outlawed. Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him.” When society fails to render justice, we should not be surprised if God—in His own way—steps in to help the oppressed.
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