Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, "He won't call me to account"? But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; you consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. Ps. 10:12-14
Holy Father, there are times when it's good to get fed up and hacked off; to get red in the face and fire in the pants---to boil to the point of holy anger. Looking into the eyes of helpless victims and hearing the sneer of agents of terror is just such a time. Today we take up the psalmist's impassioned cry, "Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless" (Ps. 10:12).
It's inconceivable and unconscionable that there are over twenty-five million people who are presently living as slaves in our world---the property of fellow image bearers of God. I've seen this horror firsthand. Women and children are being trafficked in growing numbers throughout our world---shipped like cattle to factories and brothels throughout the world. How can this be?
Never let me forget the day I walked the streets of Bangkok looking for an afternoon snack, only to be offered little girls for my pleasure by street vendors, as though these priceless seven, eight, and nine-year-olds were nothing more than an ice cream cone---a usable commodity, fodder for evil's fantasies. But I don't have to fly to Thailand to witness this evil. I can simply drive a few miles from my home.
Righteous Father, "break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out" (Ps. 10:15). I don't ask this arrogantly but with a longing for justice to flow like a river through the streets of Bangkok and Nashville, and every city and hamlet, and for your righteousness to be the never-failing stream which cuts its life-giving way throughout the earth (Amos 5:24).
Lord Jesus, because the gospel is true, we pray with confidence, "The LORD is King forever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror" (Ps. 10:16-18). Because of your cross, terror is terrified and one day will be no more; Satan knows his time is short and his demons tremble with fear. Because of your resurrection, your kingdom will come, your will will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Therefore, Jesus, show us our place in the story of announcing the arrival of your kingdom and pushing back the effects of the fall. We cannot be passive. We cannot afford not to care, not to get involved, not to show up in the very places where evil is mocking you. We praise you for ministries like IJM, (International Justice Mission), which can educate, train and deploy our hearts and our resources. Multiply more ministries like IJM. We pray for their staff, at home and in the field.
How long until the last slave is set free, Jesus? How long until we ourselves get involved? How long until you return to finish making all things new? So very amen we pray in your name, with holy longings and humble gratitude.