“Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.” (Psalm 82:3-4 NKJV)
One of the responsibilities of God’s people mentioned throughout the Bible was to defend those who couldn’t defend themselves. The Psalmist echoes that call in these verses. We’re to defend the poor and the fatherless. We’re to give justice to the afflicted and needy while freeing the poor and needy from the hand of the wicked. One of the marks of wickedness is that they oppress those who are poor and needy; they take advantage of the fatherless and disabled. These are people who can’t defend themselves in court because they don’t have the funds or the understanding of procedures. We’re not called on to defend people who can take care of themselves, because they don’t need the help; we’re called to be there for those who need help.
That can be a touchy situation for some Christians, though, especially those who believe that God will make you healthy and wealthy. OK, I’m going to say it, sometimes the so-called prosperity “gospel” preachers cause trouble for the poor and the afflicted. They prey on their desire to get well, or to gain financial resources and promise them everything, if they’ll just give their last penny to them. How else does it play out in today’s world? Try payday loan companies that “help” the poor out with loans at interest rates of over fifty percent. How often do poor and needy people suffer in the court system because they can’t afford a lawyer and the one that’s appointed for them can’t compete with the high priced attorneys on the other side. In a world of injustice, God calls His people to live and practice justice for all people.
Lord, give me the courage to stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Let your people make a difference in an indifferent world.