February 28, 2019

Among the Downtrodden

Psalm 147:10-11 singles out two examples of strength that might have impressed people in the era in which these words were penned:

His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, in those who hope in his steadfast love.
Ps. 147:10-11 
Of course champion track stars and thoroughbred horses still inspire. Actually, beyond inspiration, horse racing and athletics are obsessions of many people. In the circles I run in, in fact, it's the rare individual who cannot hold entire conversations about such things. And those who don't talk about sports will gladly fill you in about their favorite musicians or movie stars.

And I'm sure God loves horses. And athletes. And artists. They are all God's creatures, after all. But apparently his real delight is in people who think God is awesome—awesome enough to put their trust in God. And by that, I don't think the psalm is referring to your typical American who throws their supposed belief in God around without even thinking about what God expects of them. Indeed, in this same psalm, the same God who loves the faithful is also said to love the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan. Those two parts of Psalm 147 are only compatible if those who trust in God are willing to serve God among the downtrodden and oppressed. [See yesterday's discussion of verses 2,3 & 6.]

In November, the people of Alabama recently expressed their fear of and trust in the Almighty by passing a constitutional amendment "authorizing the display of the Ten Commandments on state property and property owned or administrated by a public school or public body." How impressed God must be by this pitiful gesture. How transformed the lives of the poor and the oppressed will be when they encounter these cold displays on property paid for and maintained by sales taxes disproportionately levied against the underprivileged. Seriously though, wouldn't God have been much better served if we used the same amount of motivation and an equal amount of money to provide healthcare for those who can't afford it, or to improve an education system that lags behind the rest of the nation?

I shouldn't be too critical, however. I, too, am much better at expressing my faith in words than articulating it in actions. It's time to practice what I preach.

I am quick to criticize others for hypocrisy, Lord, and slow to recognize the inconsistencies in my own life. Help me to put my words into action and demonstrate my trust in you by investing my resources in those who need them most; in the Name of him who taught me to pray...

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