Week 4, Part 1: Lessons from Psalms and Proverbs
Day 2 – God, Government and the Fatherless: Psalm 10:14-19
I’ve debated about the title for this post for an hour now. First, it was “God and the Fatherless” and then the one you see above. Then it went back to the first one because these verses are not actually talking about government. But now, it has obviously returned to the second for one very important reason: These verses are talking about God’s system of dealing with the poor and the fatherless and His desired outcome. Because of that, it is crucial that this post also deal, even just at a glance, with governmental programs and how they may relate to God’s plan. So, here goes:
Psalm 10: 14-19, “Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless. Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none. The Lord is King forever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land. Lord thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.”
1. What does God see, and with what does He requite it? Verses 2-11 of Psalm 10 describe the actions of the wicked. All the way through this Psalm, the writer discusses how the wicked are convinced that God is not looking. In verse 4, God is not in his thoughts. In verse 5, God’s judgments are “far above out of his sight.” In verse 11, he has said in his heart, “God hath forgotten: he hideth his face; he will never see it.” Verse 12 begins the appeal to God. Finally, here in verse 14, the psalmist affirms that God has seen the actions of the wicked, He beholds mischief and spite and He “requites” it, gives the same in turn, with His own hand. God sees. He gives back what has been given. He sees how we, or others, treat the fatherless and the poor. After reading this Psalm, I certainly would not want to be in that man’s shoes! We live in a world that wants to see only God’s love, but the world that is described in this Psalm NEEDS to see his judgment. God, by His own hand, requites those who oppress and persecute the poor. Remember, He said in Exodus “I WILL KILL YOU”. This is a very personal matter with God.
2. What is the relationship of the poor to God? The poor commits himself to God. Is it any wonder? In the description of the wicked we see four attacks on the poor including persecution, setting his eyes against them, laying in wait and setting traps against them, and crouching down waiting for a chance to make them fall. The wicked is convinced that God has forgotten about the works of men and will not see what they are doing, but God does see and will repay, for this reason the poor can commit himself to God with great confidence. The idea here of committing something is that of leaving something in the charge of someone else. This is the confidence which the poor have in God. They can put their lives in His hands and walk away, knowing He will take care of everything.
3. What is the relationship of God to the fatherless? God is the helper of the fatherless. The word “helper” carries with it the idea of girding, surrounding, or defending. Just as a garment encircles us, so the Lord surrounds the fatherless. He is there to shield, to defend, to strengthen. HE is their helper. This is so important for us to remember. As we seek to reach out to these children, we are simply His agents. He will not forget our labor of love, but ultimately He is working through us to come to their aid. It is very important that we emphasize this as we work with these children – with anyone really. We see more of the importance of this under the next point.
4. What effect would modern, governmental social programs have on these relationships? This is pretty simple. This is God’s desire:
The system is similar with governmental programs, but certainly NOT with the outcome that God wants:
(Warning! As Christians we can unintentionally accomplish the same thing. By not continually directing those among whom we are ministering to the Lord, we can cause them to become dependent upon us, which not only goes directly against the primary goal of glorifying the Lord and turning people to Him, but also causes a great deal of stress and even strife.)
5. What is God listening to? God is listening to the desire of the humble.
6.What characteristic is mentioned here of those that are crying out to God? Humility
7. What characteristic is often engendered in those involved in entitlement programs? The answer to this question is not meant to be a blanket answer; there are exceptions. The word “entitlement” itself gives us a clue to what the natural result of such programs is in the lives of those depending on them. Often the true state of “dependence” seems to be lost in the mind of those receiving the benefits and the mindset switches to one of being “owed” something, or in some cases everything. This is directly contrary to the primary characteristic needed to come to the Lord for salvation. Humility. Without humility it is difficult to acknowledge that we even have a need for a Savior. In addition to this, as seen in the above diagrams, the result of the entitlements is the positioning of Government in the place of God, i.e. idolatry. This is why it is so easy for a socialist state to become an atheistic state. God has been replaced. At times we avoid reaching out to the poor or the fatherless with the mindset, “That is the job of the government. The job of the church is to bring men to Christ.” When in fact, by leaving their care to the government, we are essentially turning men FROM Christ, entire countries at a time! Much more could be said on this issue. But we’ll leave it at this for now.
8. What does it say God will do for them first? What does this mean? God will prepare or establish their hearts. In I Chronicles 29:18, we find the same statement in a prayer in which David is asking the Lord to prepare the hearts of the people toward the Lord and to keep His ways in the thoughts of their hearts. This is one of the most joyous parts of ministry to the fatherless: watching God take broken, hurting hearts and heal them and strengthen them in His Word and His ways.
9. According to verse 18, God will “judge” the fatherless and the oppressed, what does this mean? It literally means that He will defend their cause. Sometimes when I look at the needs of the fatherless, at those who would come up against them or would profit from their sorrows, I am overwhelmed by the fact that I can do so little. BUT GOD…God is their true defense. He is the one who not only takes up their cause, but also the one with the power to pass judgment on those who do them harm. And HE will never fail.
10. What is the result of God’s judgment? Those that would oppress, oppress no more. What blessed assurance. When God delivers, He delivers completely.
Here’s a bonus thought: How does the phrase, “Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none”, compare to Job 31:16-22? Remember what Job said should happen to him if he had not behaved properly to the poor, the widows and the fatherless? His arm should fall from the shoulder blade, and should be broken from the bone!
Up Next: Day 3: God’s People and the Fatherless
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