God the Avenger of the Righteous
Psalms always point out two things in one idea: God will punish the wicked and we should be righteous. We pray to God to judge the wicked. If we find out that we are the wicked, we made our own trap. When we pray for just verdict, we better prepare ourselves to be righteous.
“O Lord, you God of vengeance,you God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; give to the proud what they deserve! O Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast.”
If not the righteous then the poor!
In the psalms we can also see that God is the protector of the poor. Poor people are not always righteous. Sometimes they are poor because they are not righteous. However, time and again, the Bible proclaims that God is the God of the poor. They may not be morally better than the rich. Still God shows favor to the poor. That is God’s heritage.
“They crush your people, O Lord, and afflict your heritage. They kill the widow and the stranger, they murder the orphan, and they say, ‘The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.’ Understand, O dullest of the people; fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? He who disciplines the nations, he who teaches knowledge to humankind, does he not chastise? The Lord knows our thoughts, that they are but an empty breath. Happy are those whom you discipline, O Lord, and whom you teach out of your law, giving them respite from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers?”
The righteous seek God’s help.
In God’s eyes everybody is a sinner. There is no one righteous person. Moral giant Mother Theresa is also a sinner like the wicked Hitler. It is hard for us to accept that comparison but that is the biblical truth. No one can save one’s own life with one’s own moral achievement. To God, the only righteous people are the ones who humbly acknowledge their shortcomings and seek God’s grace. That is why many times the poor and the abandoned from the community are the best candidate to be righteous.
“If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up. When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who contrive mischief by statute? They band together against the life of the righteous, and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. He will repay them for their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the Lord our God will wipe them out.”
Whether we are poor or not, we need to be humble. When we are rich and powerful, we need to be more humble to be righteous. We need to say, “All I have is God’s. I will serve God and God’s people with my wealth and power.” Otherwise, we will become wicked and the poor will take over by God’s grace.