Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
This prayer is the prayer of my heart as we work among the poor, the afflicted, the needy and the fatherless. We know from the whole of Scripture that God IS the defender of the poor and His heart is bent toward those who stand in the greatest need.
I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted And justice for the poor.
1 Samuel 2:8
He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the ash heap To make them sit with nobles, And inherit a seat of honor; For the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, And He set the world on them
In Luke 14, Jesus offers proof that His ministry is truly of the Spirit of God in that He preached the Gospel to the poor.
Elsewhere, in places like Isaiah 58, God gives stunning indictments to those who would neglect or abuse the poor and offers glorious promises to those who help them.
The heart of God, as displayed in His Word, cannot be any clearer. He IS for the poor. He IS their defender. He IS their protector.
So, implicit in this prayer of the psalmist calling for God to defend the poor and fatherless, to provide justice for the afflicted and to deliver the needy is a promise. The promise that God WILL do all of those things.
This is a call upon the very character of God to act in accordance with His nature. “God, act according to your very nature and be the defender, the justifier and the deliverer of the poor. Keep your promise to raise the weak from the dust. Keep your word to give justice to the poor. God, be their helper like you said you would.”
I’ve been praying these words often the past few weeks. Praying this exact prayer and claiming the promises that accompany it. There is great comfort in calling God out on His word. There is great power that comes with praying in accordance to the already revealed will of God to defend the poor. There is incredible peace that is spoken into my soul as I pray these words and the unmistakable answer comes back to me.
I pray, “God, defend the poor”
He answers, “I WILL”
I pray, “God, deliver the needy”
He answers, “I WILL”
I pray, “God, be the father to the fatherless”
He answers, “I AM”
What glorious communion with God it is to pray these words and know that God is the defender of the poor and He will not allow the wicked to steal them from His care. This promise offers peace that our work for the poor will never be in vain, so long as we work WITH God and not AGAINST Him.
When our hearts are aligned with the heart of our Father towards the poor, we can act in confidence that our labor WILL accomplish what He intends. Our efforts to defend, to deliver, to be a father and to seek justice will succeed because we are “co-laborers together with Him”. As we labor alongside our Father, He produces the results in accordance with His promise.
Be encouraged. Your labor is not in vain. A life dedicated to serving the poor is the most Christ-like endeavor that exists in this realm. Such a life will never be wasted, meaningless or without hope.