I am struck that the Psalmist in the face of some kind of oppression expects God not to be unmoved. She or he faces something, whether prejudice and discrimination, being cheated and used, being mistreated and abused, which crushes their spirit. Yet they expect God does not sit idly be, but is moved. And so they cry out. This is a reminder to me – the God of Scripture is the God who takes sides. This is the God who called a people sold into slavery my people when telling the powerful of the land “let my people go”. This is the God who elsewhere we are told takes up the cause of the poor and fight for the oppressed. We can know with certainty when we face oppression of all sides that God is will fight against oppression. That can be great encouragement.
Yet it can be a challenge, can’t it? So often we think “it’s just business”, “it’s just politics”, “don’t have the player, hate the game”. But if God is the One who does not sit idly by, but takes the side of the oppressed, we must also realize we have a calling to weigh our choices and not make excuses. We are called to not be the oppressor, to evaluate our lives to see in what ways we have compromised so as to support or benefit from other’s oppression. We need to do our part to side with God for the oppressed and marginalized to ensure we are not siding against God.
I am also struck by how the Psalmist expects God to answer. It is not by magically waving a wand that makes all things better but by sending for truth and light which go ahead and guide the Psalmist on his or her way. God’s way is not to solve our struggles for us independent of our actions. God’s way is to go ahead of us, calling out us of the familiar into uncertainty. God calls us to take the risk to do a new thing with God, changing our response to the circumstance. This is powerful. Ultimately we cannot change what others do, but we do have the power to alter our response to situations so that we lovingly push back against injustices, calling forth through our actions for others to recognize our shared humanity and our worth. To do so we must hear the message from the altar of God that we are ones whom God loves, ones in whom God is well pleased, ones in whom God delights. When we know ourselves as children of the King, we will no longer be able to take treatment like abandoned orphan wayfarers in the cold and lonely world.