Hope for the Oppressed
Reading: Psalm 9
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. …The wicked shall return to the grave, all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.
(Psalm 9:9-10, 17-18)
Not everyone longs for justice. Instead, many simply want power, and by that power, to win. They aren’t concerned with weights and measures, or about the worker receiving his due. They care only about themselves and maintaining their position. Jesus spoke of them as “those who lord it over others.” Under their rule, the weak and the poor suffer, and justice is withheld.
But the Lord hates injustice. That is why he pledges to be a stronghold, a shelter for those who are oppressed. He comforts those in need and gives hope to those who have none. More than that, he became one of the weak, one of the poor, one of the persecuted, one of the oppressed. He did not ride into Jerusalem on a war-horse, but on a humble foal of a donkey. He did not triumph by sitting on a throne in the king’s court, but by hanging on a cross on the outskirts of the city.
The Lord promises to bring justice. He promises that he himself will avenge the blood of all the Abels that cry out to him from the ground. He promises that the nations who forget God will return to the dust.
Let us then seek the shelter of the Lord in the face of injustice, and let us cry out to him in repentance for the injustices of our nation, pleading with him that his Spirit would grant revival and that this people would return to him.
Father, we have forgotten you by not keeping your commandments. We have said of ourselves, “My hand has made this. It is I who have done it.” But our pride has led us astray. We have left your wisdom and admonition. We have sought our own interest rather than the good of our neighbor. We have loved power more than justice. We have held up our freedom and diminished our responsibility. We have put ourselves at the center, and forgotten you.
Please grant us repentance and revival. We have not earned it, but it is what we so desperately need. And such is your grace. You impart what we cannot muster. You give us forgiveness and a renewed spirit when we deserve judgment. Let the work of the gospel continue.
Have mercy, Lord. Your mercy is our only hope.