When the Land Laughed
Recently I attended a prophetic equipping camp/conference run by Pacific Pearls, a group of Maori women with a heart and mandate to see the love of God released through our nation. During one of the meetings the leaders felt that we needed to go outside to worship and take communion, sharing it with the land so that the land also got a chance to partake in remembering what Christ had done on the cross. What I saw in this communion time has stayed with me now for days, echoing in my heart and mind.
As we stood and shared communion with the land I saw a vision. In its first segment the vision appeared like an old film out of historical archives, grainy and in shades of brown, and I understood that what I was looking at represented the past up until this point in time.
I saw a long line of Maori people standing one behind the other. Instead of their beautiful feather korowai (cloaks) they were wearing sackcloth cloaks. These were those who had suffered down through the ages from injustice. Those injustices were many and included the internal wars fought between Maori tribes as well as the broken Treaty of Waitangi covenant, and onwards into the injustices of today. All these things had stolen life from them and now here they stood mourning with tattered cloaks of heritage around their shoulders.
As I watched they began to walk across the land and with each step their feet sunk deeper, taking them progressively deeper and deeper into the land, until they disappeared into it and became part of the land and its history. During this whole scene there was no sound, just silence, the silence of those whose hurt was too deep for words.
As I waited to see if there was more, I heard the land begin to laugh. It was such a contrast to the silence that at first I was shocked. It was a child’s laughter, the laugh of many children. It was the sound of the land rejoicing in the happiness of giving birth to something new. As I continued to watch the vision changed to full colour, and the land began to give birth to children. These children were birthed out of the land, giggling and laughing. The first group of children that came up from the land were both Maori and Pakeha and then others of many races followed. When they were fully released from the land they automatically started to play together, no reserves, no holding back, no standing on the edge to see if they were welcome; they knew that they belonged here and that they belonged together, one family in God. They giggled and laughed, running, dancing and playing together, and their laughter echoed and rang out across the land in all its innocence and purity.
In the midst of that sound of the laughter I heard the Lord say,
“Begin to proclaim that the time of war is over, it is time for the sound of peace to be heard in the land. It is now the time for justice to be established. The peacemakers have been at work, addressing the wrongs and seeking to make things right. Now is the time to move forward into establishing justice.”
The establishing and outworking of justice
In talking about justice we need to understand what justice is from a scriptural perspective, not just from our modern western understanding of the word. In our modern western mindsets when we use the word “justice” we think that it is only about addressing wrongs, making them right and the bad guy paying for what he has done, with a definite emphasis on the bad guy paying for what he did; however that is a very narrow and modern view of justice. The biblical view of justice goes much deeper.
Scripturally justice issues from the very nature of God  – He is just, He is love, He is whole, righteous, kind, and fair. In Scripture God is the one who defends and protects the weak, the poor, the outcast, the alien, the debtor, the widow, and the orphan. His treatment of mankind comes out of who He is, and because we have been made in His image it is the basis for how we view and treat each other.
As we look at Scripture we see several words used which translate into English as the word “justice” . Amongst them are words which mean “deliverance”, “vindication”, “victory”, and “prosperity for all”, but the clearest and fullest meaning of those words is found in the word “Shalom”, which means justice, peace and wholeness. It includes everything that makes up a person’s well-being and security; in particular, the restoration of relationships that have been broken. In the Hebrew mind justice is about repairing broken relationships – with other people, and societally.
In his article “The Beauty of Biblical Justice” Timothy Keller says...
“In the Bible, shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight. It describes a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts are faithfully and fruitfully employed, all under the arc of God’s love.”
Justice is, and always has been, a part of God’s purpose in redemption. In redemption God’s plan is the restoration of all things , to bring the earth and its inhabitants back to a state of shalom - justice, peace, wholeness, flourishing and delight, and right relationship with Him and each other.
God’s dealings with mankind down through the centuries have all been about the restoration of all things and true justice being served; that what happened to mankind in the garden of Eden, through Satan’s deception would be put right and people restored to a place of wholeness and unbroken relationship – with God and each other. From Genesis through to Christ’s work on the cross, and now beyond that through us, He has been working toward that aim. Now we, His people, get to partner with Him to see it outworked in our personal lives, our families, communities and nations, so that a state of wholeness is restored to both the people of the land and the earth itself. Scripture tells us in many places that it is God’s plan to restore all things, both to Himself and to their right purpose, and that He has been working toward that plan all along.
Is this a “pipe-dream”? Many in our nation, both in the church and in society, would say that true restoration as God intends isn’t possible; too much has gone on, the hurt goes too deep. In saying that, we ignore who God is and the power of His love to restore. In stepping into the promise of God’s restoration and peace we don’t ignore what happened or throw away the memories of it; we deal with what happened, and we outwork true justice – bringing deliverance, restoration, peace, vindication, wholeness, delight and the outworking of the righteousness, peace and joy that is found in Him.
I believe that we can see justice and restoration brought to our land. Why? Because on a very small scale I have seen God do just that in my personal life. He has brought ‘shalom’ into my life – He has saved, delivered, healed, and brought restoration and justice to my life, and I know that for many of you reading this God has done the same for you. What He has done for us is what He wants to do for others, and we are called to co-labour with Him in that process, becoming “repairers of the breach and restorers of streets to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:12) each taking our place and doing our bit so that the sound of laughter can be restored to our land and her peoples.
It won’t happen overnight, but it is God’s intention and His plan. We can’t afford to take a short-term vision here, and we can’t afford to let the state of society as it currently is dictate what is possible. We must keep a vision of that wholeness before us, for without that we will wander aimlessly (Proverbs 29:18) and the earth and its people will continue their walk into decay. With God’s vision before us we can not only see what God wants, we can begin to move toward what we see. Let faith arise again; believe that what God wants will come to pass. It may be years until the fullness of it happens, but it will never happen unless we ask God for His strategy and begin to outwork that strategy. It will involve tackling the issues on many levels, and in that, we each have a part to play; and as we each do our part the will of God will come to pass.
The verses below refer to the square bracketed numbers in the text above. Use these for your own study -
. God is just and He wants justice for mankind. Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 89:13,14; Psalm 116:5; Isaiah 13:18; Isaiah 58:5-7; 2Thessalonians 1:6-8.
We are called to walk as people who carry the nature of God and walk in justice – Deuteronomy 16:20; Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 16:5; Micah 6:8; Matthew 7:12; James 1:27; 1 John 2:29
. The following is one of many articles online which look at all the Hebrew words for justice and is a good place to start - https://edensbridge.org/2012/01/11/on-justice-and-righteousness-mishpat-tsadaq-strongs-4941-6663/
. Some verses on the restoration of all things. Acts 3:20,21; Matthew 17:11; Colossians 1:19,20; Revelation 21:5; Isaiah 25:7,8; Matthew 19:28; John 6:39; Romans 5:18.