Be Still Know
Psalm 82.3-4 NLT
‘Give justice to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.’
When I was in my 20s I lived in an Indian village for a year. I had the incredible privilege of living with a family of Dalits, who have generally been known as untouchables. Dalits form about a quarter of the Indian population and have always been regarded as the lowest of the low. My Indian family was a typical extended family with a granny, mum, dad, three children, and various aunts who would stay with us from time to time. They generously opened their home and their hearts to me and gave me the most amazing insight into their way of life. In doing so they opened my eyes to injustice on a scale I had never seen before. Every part of their life was defined by the fact that they were Dalits. Life was a daily struggle as they lived with the certainty that they would never receive fair treatment from society. It was distressing to see the way in which they were constantly disadvantaged in education, employment and even in the justice system.
This is clearly the experience of many people in our world today, and we need to remember that our God is passionate about justice. This psalm, like so many others, focuses its attention on the obligation that God’s people have to live justly and to speak up for the oppressed. Here Asaph refers to the vulnerable members of his own community – the poor, the orphans, the oppressed, the destitute and the helpless. He is scathing about their leaders who lived in total ignorance “wandering about in the darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core.” (verse 5) We can’t solve all the injustices in the world but the one thing we can all definitely do is to get informed. We live in an age that has more readily available information than ever before. To be ignorant of the issues can only be because we have chosen to ignore the problems and refused to hear the cries of the vulnerable members of our community. The world is truly being shaken to the core and, for God’s sake, we need to act.
QUESTION: In what ways could you work for justice today?
PRAYER: God of Justice, we praise you for your love for all people and your passionate desire that everyone should be treated with care and dignity. Amen
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