Joyful are those you discipline, Lord, those you teach with your instructions. You give them relief from troubled times until a pit is dug to capture the wicked. The Lord will not reject his people; he will not abandon his special possession. Judgment will again be founded on justice, and those with virtuous hearts will pursue it. Who will protect me from the wicked? Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave. I cried out, “I am slipping!” but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me. When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. Can unjust leaders claim that God is on their side—leaders whose decrees permit injustice? They gang up against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord is my fortress; my God is the mighty rock where I hide. God will turn the sins of evil people back on them. He will destroy them for their sins. The Lord our God will destroy them. Psalm 94:12-23
We continue today to explore what it means for us to join God in his two-fold mission of compassion for the world. God's two-fold mission of compassion for the world involves bringing the Gospel message of redemption to the world and caring deeply about the significant pain and suffering that exists in our world and taking helpful steps toward alleviating it. We have zeroed in on one type of significant pain and suffering that exists in the world and that is the pain and suffering involved in being a refugee. Yesterday's passage allowed us to hear directly from a refugee and gave us insight into what goes on in the mind, heart and soul of a refugee. Today's passage provides similar insight.
The context of both passages is the relationship of God and his people Israel in the midst of what they were experiencing in the world of that day. In both passages the Psalmist is praying to God and commenting on his praying to God. These insightful expressions by the Psalmist teach us much about the experience of being a refugee. Not all refugees cry out to the "God who truly is," but all experience similar pain and suffering that deserves the loving and compassionate response of those who have the means to help alleviate it. Certainly, experiencing the "God who truly is" as a spiritual refuge while being a refugee makes a tremendous difference as is clearly seen in these Psalms. But, we must keep in mind what we said earlier in the week.
"When it comes to actual physical refuge, God does not provide it directly apart from human intervention."
You need to have love and compassion for refugees that translates into your actually being a part of alleviating their pain and suffering. The act of care and concern that comes from you may be the answer to the prayer of a brother in sister in Christ who is crying out to the "God who truly is" for relief and justice. The act of care and concern that comes from you may be the very means for bringing someone to faith in Christ who has never known the "God who truly is" as a spiritual refuge.
Lord, I recognize that my world is overflowing with opportunity for material and spiritual prosperity. Deliver me from a desire to preserve this prosperity that keeps me from sharing it. "Open" me to the plight of the refugee of today like never before and help me to do whatever you want me to do that is in my power to do on their behalf. Amen!
Posted on Fri, November 20, 2015
by Alan Porter