God Takes Sides

Psalm 9:9 says, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed…”

Psalm 10:17-18 says, “You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed…

”Psalm 82:3 says, “Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed…”

Psalm 103:6 says, “The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.”

I would like to collectively summarize and paraphrase the above passages in today’s vernacular:  “Oppressed, afflicted, fatherless, weak, and poor lives matter.”

It is within the spirit of the Psalms cited above to say that if the Psalms were being written here and now, one of them would likely read, “The Lord declares, ‘Black lives matter!’”

But don’t all lives matter? 

Of course they do. Of course God loves everyone.  (So much so that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.)  But even though God loves everyone, the fact remains that the passages quoted above narrow the focus.  Those passages simply don’t happen to say that God is a refuge for all, or that he defends all, or that he works justice for all.   The raw truth is, that while God loves everyone, God takes sides! 

It is a function of his righteous holiness to do so.  Of course God cares for everyone, but at times, circumstances demand an emphasis or focus on a particular portion of humanity. In principle it is analogous to Jesus’ parable about leaving ninety-nine sheep to find one lost sheep. The point of that story isn’t that the ninety-nine don’t matter, but that the one needed extra attention and focus.

In some cases, the Scripture is explicit and in others it is easy to extrapolate God’s position:  Where there are oppressed and oppressors, God takes the side of the oppressed; where there is conflict between the poor and the well-to-do, God takes the side of the poor; where there are abused and abusers, God is on the side of the abused; where there are exploited and exploiters, God is on the side of the exploited; where there are powerful and powerless, God is on the side of the powerless.

Which brings us to our current time and place.  When it is exposed that a culture has a systemic problem with racism such that, both anecdotally and statistically, it can be shown that a particular demographic minority is being mistreated, abused, and oppressed by the powerful majority, we can easily discern which side God is on.   The soul-searching question to ask yourself is, “Which side am I on?”

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