“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.”
To know God’s heart is to know compassion for oppressed people. Throughout scripture, He moves mountains and splits seas for the oppressed. Jesus proclaims several times throughout the gospels that He did not come for the well, but for the sick. He did not come to be served, but to serve.
What does this mean for oppressed populations of our culture?
When everyone from your next-door neighbor to the media to the greater structures of our society seems to hold you back, God promises that He hears you. He promises that He will strengthen your heart. And ultimately, He promises justice.
In one of my favorite undergrad classes, New Testament Theology (shout out to Dr. Foster), we discussed how the word for righteousness in the Bible (used more than 500 times) may more accurately translate to justice. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology promotes the same theory The Greek word, Dikaiosune, is used in classic verses like Matthew 5:6,
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for dikaiosune, for they shall be satisfied.”
And John 16:8,
“And He, when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and dikaiosune and judgment.”
What does this mean for the privileged populations of our culture?
God commands His people to be bearers of justice. If we are to claim His kingdom, if we are to pray for revival, if we are to ask for heaven on earth, we must seek justice for the oppressed. We must open our hearts to those who look, speak, and live differently than us.
If God’s heart is for them, then my heart should be for them. And God desperately wants to bring every last one into the fold.
We can try to throw everything on the table: gender, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, disability, etc. Jesus wiped the slate clean for all. He leveled the playing field for all. He is running for the hearts of all people.
At the end of the day, can I say the same?
Lord, search my heart and root out prejudice. Forgive my inaction and indifference. Replace it with eternal light and love for all people. Teach me to seek justice - where I am oppressed and where I am privileged. Amen.
Author | Claire Jordan