Singing As We Plant #10
Take time to read the entirety of Psalm 10:1-18 and then come back and read the following verses.
Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand;
forget not the afflicted.
Why does the wicked renounce God
and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”?
But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation,
that you may take it into your hands;
to you the helpless commits himself;
you have been the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer;
call his wickedness to account till you find none.
The Lord is king forever and ever;
the nations perish from his land.
O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
– Psalm 10:12-18
Some time ago I had the real privilege of going away to the bushveld with some family and friends. We sat around a roaring log fire at night and spoke about what South African’s speak about on such occasions … politics. I really would have preferred to speak about rhinos and elephants and cheetahs, but we didn’t. I kept quiet for most of the conversation and just listened as issue after issue arose about how people around me felt that our leaders in government were failing the people. Someone pointed out rather astutely that South Africa wasn’t alone in all of this, that pretty much every leadership in the world was struggling to lead their nation well, and that the poor and oppressed around the world paid the price for leadership struggle. Eventually the group decided to consult the sage, wise, silent, bearded pastor in the corner (that’s me, just for clarity’s sake). What did I think? Who did I have hope in? My response … I have read the Bible, and I don’t believe in politicians. I know they exist, I just don’t believe they hold the hope of the world in their hands.
I am all for Christians in politics, and all for Christians having a social influence and meaningful opinion. I just don’t believe that politicians will save us. My hope isn’t in them. Their track record isn’t all that good.
This leader doesn’t campaign and he doesn’t need your funds or even your vote. My hope is in him.
In Psalm 10, David continues with his lament from Psalm 9. He was furious that God would continue to allow rulers of this world to oppress, to steal from, and to victimise those who couldn’t defend themselves. David would have been very vocal at our braai if he could have attended. I wish he could have, as I bet he made a brilliant dinner guest. But David refused to stop in the hopeless; rather, he believed that it would be put right and he gained courage and strength from that. He knew that there was another leader who defends the fatherless, one who stands up for those who have no-one to speak for them.
This leader doesn’t campaign and he doesn’t need your funds or even your vote. My hope is in him. That may sound naïve and even escapist, but I tell you what – I was able to rock back in my chair next to that fire, and sip on a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, and look at the incredible stars in the African sky and smile. When my bemused family asked me what I was smiling about, I could simply say, as David concluded: “It’s all gonna be okay … one day.”
Singing As We plant
Church planter – how can you be ferociously committed to social justice, perfectly poised and hopeful in the heat of the action, and never forget that the mission of the church is to call people to faith through the word and prayer?
Church planter remember: God is more committed to justice than you & he absolutely will do something about it.
By remembering what David remembers here: that God cares more about the issue than you, that he is more committed to justice than you, that he absolutely will do something about it and that his people, as they listen to his word, cannot help but be stimulated to action in the world now, even as they wait for the world to come.
This – the commitment to the mission of the church in the power of the word of grace, the commitment to the poor and weak in practical ways, the calm assurance of the inheritance to come – is beautifully encapsulated in Paul’s concluding words to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:
“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
Singing Psalm 10 as you plant will keep you, your core team and your church on track.
Heavenly Father. Sometimes when I look around at the world I can get discouraged by the things that I see. Give me eyes of faith, like David, to be able to trust you for the ways you are working in the world. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.