Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:4
Which would you choose—a skiing holiday in Switzerland or rescuing children from danger in Prague? Nicholas Winton, just an ordinary man, chose the latter. In 1938, war between Czechoslovakia and Germany seemed on the horizon. After Nicholas visited refugee camps in Prague, where many Jewish citizens lived in horrible conditions, he felt compelled to come up with a plan to help. He raised money to transport hundreds of children safely out of Prague to Great Britain to be cared for by British families before the onset of World War II.
His actions exemplified those called for in Psalm 82: “Uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed” (v. 3). Asaph, the writer of this psalm, wanted to stir his people to champion the cause of those in need: “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (v. 4). Like the children Nicholas worked tirelessly to rescue, the psalmist spoke for those who couldn’t speak for themselves—the poor and the widowed who needed justice and protection.
Everywhere we look today we see people in need due to war, storms, and other hardships. Although we can’t solve every problem, we can prayerfully consider what we can do to help in the situations God brings into our lives.
What are some immediate needs of others you can help meet? How has God uniquely prepared you to rescue and care for others?
Loving God, open my eyes to the needs of those around me.
The psalms of Asaph (50; 73–83) take an honest look at the seeming absence of justice on the earth. These songs pose our toughest questions, including: Why do the wicked prosper? and Why do good people suffer? Here in Psalm 82 the pointed question is asked: “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked?” (v. 2). We might interpret that as an accusation against God, but the word translated “you” is plural. The psalmist is targeting his question against unjust judges who “will die like mere mortals; [and] will fall like every other ruler” (v. 7). The psalm affirms God’s sovereignty over all things: “God . . . renders judgment among the ‘gods’” (v. 1) and concludes with an appeal to the Lord to “rise up” and “judge the earth” (v. 8). Despite the pain that motivated this cry for justice, the songwriter knows God can be trusted to make things right.