Week 4, Part 1: Lessons from Psalms and Proverbs
Day 1 – The Wicked and the Fatherless: Psalm 10:18; 94: 3-6; 109:9,12; 146:9
It never pays to do evil. Just as Job and his friends painted a picture of wicked men being those who oppress and abuse the poor, the fatherless and the widows, the Psalms go on to continue the painting.
Psalm 10:18 is the least definite of these verses on the matter, but it gives us a good reminder of where the problem comes from, “To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth many no more oppress.”
“The man of the earth”, it is easy for us to judge those who would oppress others, but we must remember that it is because they are men and women, sinners, just as we are. It is easy to say, “I would never do that.” But the truth of the matter is that every single one of us is capable of the very actions we condemn in others. It is only by the working of God’s grace in our lives that we are not as they who go about oppressing and abusing and using men, women and children around the world.
Psalm 94:3-6, “Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph? how long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage. They slay the widow and stranger, and murder the fatherless.”
“Wicked” is a very good description of these people. Vile comes to mind as well. “They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.” These practices did not stop in the days of the Psalmist. A quick glance around the globe will tell you that not only are the wicked slaying the widows, strangers and fatherless, but they are ripping up entire nations. Violence is rampant in our world. Widows, strangers and the fatherless are some of the most vulnerable targets.
Psalm 109:9, 12, “Let his [the wicked] children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labor. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.”
David was under attack, if nothing else, verbal attack (see verse 2). It is tempting to look at this as simply a man’s prayer for vengeance upon the one who has wounded him, but we must also keep in mind that, according to Exodus, this is exactly the punishment that God had named for those who would afflict the widow and the fatherless. David’s prayer was that the children of the wicked would be fatherless and his wife a widow. God promised in Exodus that if the fatherless and the widows cried out to Him at all that they had been afflicted by someone, He would kill them with the sword and their wives would be widows and their children fatherless. Here we find that this was exactly the case at hand. Verse sixteen says, “Because that he remembered not to show mercy, but persecuted the poor and needy man, that he might even slay the broken in heart.”
David was conscious of God’s law, and he claimed its promises as true. Many times we quote the Scriptures, but we do not live as though we believe they are true. Hudson Taylor once said, “There is a living God. He has spoken in the Bible. He means what He says and will do as He has promised.” We must learn to live our lives based upon these very important truths. We often live only by the first two, not really taking Him at His word, but we will find new confidence and new devotion once we start believing that all He has said He will do.
Psalm 146:9, “The LORD preserveth the strangers; he relieveth the fatherless and widow: but the way of the wicked he turneth upsisde down.”
The wicked may think that they are getting away with things, but they aren’t. Psalm seventy-three is proof that it may even seem to the righteous that the wicked are getting away with things, but both here and in Psalm seventy-three, the truth comes out: God will turn the way of the wicked upside down.
Can you think of an example from current events or even your own life in which you have run across someone who treated the fatherless, widows, strangers, or the poor in the manner described in these verses?
What does God promise will happen to people like that?
What should our response be to this knowledge? In Psalm 73:17-21, Asaph said that when he understood their end his heart was grieved.
Take time to pray for the salvation of those who persecute the poor. Pray also that God will do as He has promised in Psalm 146, that He will preserve the strangers, and relieve the fatherless and the widows. He has spoken and will do it!
Up Next: Day 2: God and the Fatherless
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Also Check out Rachel Miller’s Book: The King’s Daughter: A Story of Redemption