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Seeking a mission in the world

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Today’s bible study is Psalm 82:3-4: Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

The psalms are among the most beautiful writings in the bible and many, if not all of them, were meant to be songs. This one is particularly beautiful since it calls upon out higher nature to care for those who are unable to care for themselves. We are called to defend the weak and the fatherless and to help care for the poor and oppressed. We are told to help to rescue the needs and to deliver them from wickedness. These very requests stated in Psalm 82 seem to be the foundation of much of the mission work currently being done my many Christian churches and in many Christian communities.

In Columbia, church groups units to work with the homeless and provide hot meals and housing. They unite at Thanksgiving to serve hot turkey dinners to the poor and the needy and again at Christmas to ring bells for the Salvation Army. Nearly all of us have donated to a mission of our own church, be it aiding Haiti, sending packages to our troops, or helping rebuild houses after a disaster.

The Book of Psalms is the Psalter or the hymnal of Israelite worship and the bible’s book of personal devotions. In it we not only find expression of all the emotions of life but also some of the most profound teachings in the entire Scripture.

The Psalms were not completed until late in Israelite history, but it contains hymns written over a period of hundreds of years. Many individual psalms are far older than the whole book.

Psalms fall into many different categories. There are hymns, community complaints, individual songs of thanksgiving, royal psalms, Torah palms, oracle psalms, blessings psalms, taunt songs that reproach the godless and songs of trust.

In Psalm 82, God accuses the gods of having misgoverned the world. The identity of these gods is hard to determine. Some interpret them as spiritual powers that rule the world as others as human judges. But these alternatives are not mutually exclusive. Probably the human powers are treated in the early counterparts to spiritual forces. God has determined to judge the powers and rulers who maintain a world system of oppression and injustice.

We see the need to help release this oppression and overcome this injustice. We are doing this through our prayer, our gifts, our thoughts and our missions. Whether we are selling used clothing at Stepping Stones Ministry, scooping mashed potatoes at the Coliseum, chopping onions at Oliver Gospel Mission or taking children from the W.A. Perry School on an outing, we are doing the work of God. Let us continue to do so, in the name of our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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