the God who acts
Psalm 82:1-8 Give justice to the poor and the orphan (Psalm 82:3).
Re-read Psalm 82 and note where the psalmist asks God to act and where he offers God’s words compelling us to act. What does this interplay teach us?
Where do you need God to act? Where do you think God desires for you to act?
Gloria Bentivegna has been a faithful Christian for most of her life, and she raised her son Sal the same way. Sal grew ambivalent about his faith, however. He required physical evidence to believe in God, and so he became an agnostic. One day, at the slot machines, Sal offered an “off the cuff” prayer: “God, I don’t know if you’re real or not, but if you are there, please let my mother win a million dollars.” Sal was fueled by cynicism more than faith; but remarkably, the next day his mom won the $1,000,000 lottery.
I have no idea what role God played in this, and the lottery does seem like an unlikely place for Him to appear (God is not into gambling). Who knows? Sal’s flippant prayer, however, raises the same question I face—perhaps you do too: Does God act? Often, when I pray, little changes. And often there are situations where all my presumptions suggest that a good God would take action. Yet no divine intervention seems obvious.
Psalm 82 begins with the strong affirmation that God rules, He “presides” and “pronounces judgment” (Psalm 82:1). This belief is core to the Christian faith: God is Sovereign. God rules. But how does God rule? Apparently, God’s action is most often not something God does to us, but something that God does through us.
In the words that follow in the psalm, God speaks to His people and admonishes us to “uphold the rights of the oppressed” and “rescue the poor and the helpless” and to “deliver [the abused] from the grasp of evil people” (Psalm 82:3-4). God doesn’t simply intervene—He compels His people to act.
Scripture affirms again and again that God absolutely acts, but often He works through us. Perhaps the question isn’t will God act? It’s will we act?
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Kings 3:16-28
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