PSALM 10:17-18: “You have heard the desire of oppressed people, O LORD. You encourage them. You pay close attention to them in order to provide justice for orphans and oppressed people so that no mere mortal will terrify them again.” (GW)
OBSERVATION: Why doesn’t God stop all the injustice in the world? Why do innocent people suffer at the hands of wicked people? These are honest questions that come to mind when we look at the world around us, or read the daily news headlines. At times it can seem that God is disengaged in the affairs of mankind. Like the Psalmist we ask,
- “Why are you so distant, LORD? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalms 10:1 GW)
Yet, in Psalm 10:17-18 we are reminded that the Lord hears the desire of the oppressed, encourages them, and pays close attention to them in order to provide justice for them. How does God do this?
From the beginning of creation, and since Adam and Eve’s fall into sin, there has been a battle between the wicked and the righteous. Cain killed Abel because Abel did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and Cain’s thoughts and actions were evil. The wicked have no place for God in their thoughts or actions. The Psalmist writes,
- “The wicked person boasts about his selfish desires. He blesses robbers, but he curses the LORD. He turns up his nose ⌊and says⌋, “God doesn’t care.” His every thought ⌊concludes⌋, “There is no God.” (Psalms 10:3-4 GW)
This disregard for God, quickly turns into a disregard of those who are trying to follow and serve God, and those who are weak or in need.
- “The wicked person arrogantly pursues oppressed people. He will be caught in the schemes that he planned…His mouth is full of cursing, deception, and oppression. Trouble and wrongdoing are on the tip of his tongue. He waits in ambush in the villages. From his hiding places he kills innocent people. His eyes are on the lookout for victims.” (Psalms 10:2, 7-8 GW)
So, in the midst of this activity of the wicked – how does God hear and answer the cry of the oppressed? Throughout the Scriptures, and throughout history, we find the answer. God answers the cry of the oppressed through the actions of the righteous. God heard the cries of Israel and He sent Moses to lead His people from oppression into freedom. God heard the cries of His creation and He sent His only begotten Son to bear the penalty of sin and death on the cross so that we could escape the oppression of sin, death, and the devil. In our own history, God heard the cries of those sold into slavery, and He raised up godly men and women, who honored the Word of God, and the sanctity of human life, to oppose slavery until the tide of opinion overturned this evil oppression. And this list could go on and on.
God does not simply dictate His will from His throne. Rather, He has entrusted His power and rule to His people. It is the Christian’s call to be the voice of the oppressed in the world. When we hear the cry of the oppressed, it is our call to proclaim the Word and Will of God on their behalf. If we are not the voice for the unborn in the womb who are crying out against the evils of abortion – who will be? If we are not the voice for the poor and marginalized in our society – who will be? If we are waiting for God to act, then we have forgotten His words from the Sermon on the Mount.
- “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for God’s approval. They will be satisfied. Blessed are those who show mercy. They will be treated mercifully…Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called God’s children.” (Matthew 5:6-7, 9 GW)
Some may say – “What can I do against all the wickedness and oppression in the world?” Can the efforts of one single life make a difference in the wake of all the evil and oppression in this world? God does not call us to conquer all evil and oppression. Only He can do that completely, and He will when Jesus Christ returns. What we are called to do is simply answer the “call” of the oppressed. I know that I can answer the “call” of one person. I can make a difference in the life of “one” person. And when I do, it is God working through me, as His ambassador, to answer their call!
What would happen if each one of us began to answer the call of “one” person, if we began to speak out on behalf of “one” person? I may not be able to change the world, but I can make an impact on “one” life with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ!
Lord, give me ears to hear the cry of the oppressed. Help me to have an open heart to those in need around me. Help me to be a voice for those who cannot speak on their own behalf. Give me a generous heart to give from the abundance that you have given me, to those in need.
In Jesus Name!