by Judy Webb
"God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the 'gods.' How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." (Psalm 82:1-4)
I have to admit, I do not remember ever reading or studying this Psalm before and I find it very difficult to understand. I know, there are only eight verses, but it is still a puzzle to me. After reading a few versions and consulting with an equal number of commentaries, here is my understanding. Perhaps I am looking too deep into it and God is simply trying to tell us to love each other and to be kind. Perhaps God will reveal additional thoughts as we continue today.
Because of the state of our world, and because of the conviction God has been placing on my heart of late, I believe this Psalm 82 is a call for us to be mindful of those who have so much less than needed to survive with dignity. Love and kindness are in short supply too. We need to stop the shouting at one another and instead we must speak gentle words of encouragement and love.
There is also a need for us to embrace those who are vulnerable – widows, invalids, homeless and the rejected. It is amazing what a smile can do for someone who is struggling or in pain because of a loss. For others who feel discarded, a hand on the shoulder or a pat on the back could ease the pain of loneliness. A generous handout is also appropriate.
I am reminded of the way of our leaders right now. The shouting and name calling that goes on daily. The wicked prey upon the poor and the needy. There is too much of this in the world. We can make a huge difference if we only try to be kind. We need to stop this behavior and practice the golden rule. Remember that? Remember as a child hearing the command, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you"?
The golden rule still works, and we must employ it regularly to have a much needed impact with our neighbors.
Dear Jesus, open our eyes to those who are vulnerable today. Give is the courage and the heart to reach out in some way to encourage others and brighten their day.