Stand in the Gap

Psalm 82:1-4

God presides in the great assembly;
he renders judgment among the “gods”:

“How long will you defend the unjust
and show partiality to the wicked?
Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

Devotion

Today we will continue to look at how to proceed as we navigate this sensitive issue of racism in our culture. In the above text, the psalmist speaks on behalf of God and asks the question, “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?” This psalm is a word of judgment against unjust rulers and judges of the day. God is a God of justice. Therefore, He requires those in authority to exercise justice in their dealings with people. Once again, we see God’s concern for the oppressed. Once again, we see God’s instructions to those in authority: “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain (protect) the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Today I would like us to focus on what it means “to protect the rights of the poor and oppressed.” It is obvious from this text that the poor and oppressed were being taken advantage of. Those who were leading and judging others had forgotten that they were God’s representatives. As God’s representatives, they were supposed to reflect the nature of God in their dealings with others. One of their main responsibilities was to protect the powerless against all who would exploit or oppress them. It is clear from this text that these leaders were utterly devoid of true understanding of moral issues or the moral order that God’s rule sustains. Leaders who lack the moral courage to do the right thing have a negative impact on the whole world.

So how do we use our power and influence to protect the rights of the poor and oppressed? When we see injustice, we must act. In our constitutional republic, we have been given the right to free speech. When we see injustice, we must speak out! We also have been given the right to peaceably assemble. When we see injustice, we must come together in the public forum to rally against injustice. This means that we first must shepherd or protect our own hearts from this wickedness. This is essential before we can shepherd or protect the rights of others. Standing up against injustice will not always be popular, but it is what God requires! Fighting to protect the rights of the oppressed will not always be easy, but it honors and glorifies God.

To protect means “to keep safe from harm or injury.” As God’s representatives, it is our responsibility to protect the rights of the poor and oppressed. We do this by not allowing others to take advantage of the vulnerable in our society. This is true during a national crisis or in our day-to-day living when we see injustice in our home, community, or workplace. If we are not vigilant, injustice will always find its way back into our lives. Sin is always knocking at our door wanting to get in and wreak havoc in our lives and in our world. We must always be on guard for injustice and quick to squash it before it takes root in our hearts and in our community.

Questions to Ponder:

What are you doing to protect the rights of the oppressed in our community? What are you doing to guard your heart against the evil of injustice? Do you have the courage to fight back against injustice?

Prayer Points

  • Ask God to open your eyes to the evils of injustice.
  • Ask God to forgive you for the times that you have been silent about injustice.
  • Ask God to help you learn about the perspective of those who have been victims of prejudice.
  • Ask God to soften the hard hearts of those who are still having a hard time seeing the injustice that happens to others.

Suggested Prayer
Thank You Lord that You really understand completely what it feels like to be used, abused, accused, mocked, and mistreated. The cross shows us that You understand Lord. Thank You for that. In the Name of Jesus Christ and on behalf of our church family, I denounce racism and release anti-racism. I denounce pride, power over others, manipulation, bullying, oppressing those that are of color and release the love of Christ for our brothers and sisters. Help me to be someone that You use to bring about equality for all people because You created mankind in Your image. Oh God release love, true repentance, forgiveness, mercy and grace upon all Your people. In the Name of Jesus Christ I ask. Amen.

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