This year, we’re sharing ways in which our God is truly Father to the fatherless in our special #OurFather devotional series. This month, former Orphan Outreach staffer and global missions advocate Sarah Herbek challenges us to consider what it means to uphold the cause of the orphaned and vulnerable with “Our Father Defends.”
Psalm 82:3-4 – 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.
At first reading, Psalm 82 might be a little confusing. Who is this Psalm talking about? Who is coming before God? The individuals being rebuked in Psalm 82 were Israel’s rulers or judges, leaders responsible to promote justice, to punish evildoers, and to defend the weak and the oppressed. But this was not happening. The vulnerable and fatherless were being taken advantage of. So, God is accusing these leaders and making it clear what a judge is supposed to do.
Psalm 82:2-4 says, “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder. You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.” (MSG)
Judges are to be a haven of justice for the weak and oppressed, the unprotected, the orphan and widow. God puts certain people in leadership for this purpose but He desires that all His people would do what is right. He created us to rule over His creation (Genesis 1:26, 28) and part of having that authority from God is to defend the orphan just like He would and does. Anyone with authority or influence of any kind (which, according to Jeremiah 22:3, is all of us) must care for the orphan and the widow, the oppressed and afflicted. We act on behalf of God as we carry out the mission of God that He promised will be fulfilled in every nation (Genesis 12:3). It is our privilege to be a part of that mission. We are to live in a way that aligns with the character of God, including His justice. As Paul put it, an earthly ruler is “… a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). We are God’s agents who are to bring light to the darkness, and carry out mercy and justice in His name!
OUR VISION AT ORPHAN OUTREACH IS “TO SHINE BRIGHTEST WHERE THE WORLD IS DARKEST.”
So what is God the Father as a judge like? In the context of Psalm 82, He is the ultimate judge! The righteous judge! He is a defender. He stands between those who would harm and take advantage of the weak. He perfectly applies mercy and justice (Micah 6:8) — mercy that preserves dignity and justice that creates lasting change.
Robert Lupton put it this way, “Twinned together these commands lead us to holistic involvement. Divorced they become deformed. Mercy without justice degenerates into dependency and entitlement, preserving the power of the giver over the recipient. Justice without mercy grows cold and impersonal, more concerned about rights than relationships. The addict needs both food and treatment. The young woman needs both a safe place to sleep and a way out of her entrapping lifestyle. Street kids need both friendship and jobs.”
This might seem like an overwhelming task, but we must remember that not only has God promised that one day He will remove all injustice (Revelation 21), but He has commissioned this task to His Church all over the world. We are not in this alone, and that is why we can partner with each other to pursue mercy and justice together, one person (or child) at a time.
Memorize Micah 6:8 today. Then, write down and thank the Lord for ways you see His people advocating for the weak and vulnerable!
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)
Questions for you to ponder:
- What is the difference between justice and mercy? How are they similar?
- Where might God be asking you to make changes in your life in order to grow your knowledge of Him?
- What ways can you engage in promoting mercy and justice in your sphere of influence?
Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established to fund the orphanage.