Care for the Needy?

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Reading: Psalm 12
For the director of music. According to sheminith. A psalm of David.
Help, LORD, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.
Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.
May the L
ORD silence all flattering lips and every boastful tongue—
those who say,
“By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”
“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise,” says the L
ORD.
“I will protect them from those who malign them.”
And the words of the L
ORD are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.
You, L
ORD, will keep the needy safe and will protect us forever from the wicked,
who freely strut about when what is vile is honored by the human race
(NIV).*

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Mist rising off McKay Lake, Ottawa, ON — photo courtesy of Joshua Kitz

Reflection
Who cares for the needy? The corporate titans and bank executives don’t. It seems they are far too busy lining their pockets and preparing their golden parachutes to give a thought or a dollar to low paid employees or the poor. The relentless pursuit of profit trumps all other concerns.

Who cares for the poor? It seems political leaders and power brokers don’t. When called upon, they mouth meaningless platitudes and profess concern. But policy is dictated by those with fat bank accounts and the right connections. They ensure that very little trickles down to those in need. In their hearts these are those who say, “By our tongues we will prevail; our own lips will defend us—who is lord over us?”

Who cares for the poor and needy? According to the words of this psalm the LORD does. “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”

God has always demonstrated concern for the poor. The prophet Amos declared the LORD’s severe judgment on Israel because of their mistreatment of the poor. “For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as on the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed” (Amos 2:6-7).

Will God judge us for how we treat the poor? Absolutely. God has not changed. He defends the poor and He remains true to His word. Call out to Him in your time of need. The word of the LORD is tried, tested and true. You can count on it.

Response: LORD God, give me a caring heart for those who are poor and oppressed. Help me to demonstrate that care not just in thought but in practical ways as Jesus would. Amen.

Your Turn: What can you do today for someone who is needy or suffering? Let your actions speak.

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

This post by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in book format later in 2020 by Elk Lake Publishing under the title 365 Days through the Psalms.

When the Foundations Are Being Destroyed

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Reading: Psalm 11
For the director of music. Of David.
In the LORD I take refuge.
How then can you say to me:
“Flee like a bird to your mountain.
For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do?”
The L
ORD is in his holy temple; the LORD is on his heavenly throne.
He observes everyone on earth; his eyes examine them.
The L
ORD examines the righteous,
but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur;
a scorching wind will be their lot.
For the L
ORD is righteous, he loves justice;
the upright will see his face
(NIV).*

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Mother duck, Nagoya, Japan — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
Do you feel like your faith is under attack? It seems that everywhere there are people who are mocking those who have faith in God. Believers are openly ridiculed. We are blamed for every war since time immemorial. We are told that science has rock-solid evidence, while God followers rely on concocted myths handed down by unscrupulous manipulators.

The enemy is firing arrows of accusation, doubt and distrust from the shadows at the upright in heart. The very foundation of our faith, the word of God—the Bible—is being attacked as outdated, unreliable and historically inaccurate. Along with David we ask, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

The righteous can do what David does in the first line of this psalm. David says, “In the LORD I take refuge.” For David, God was not a mystical concept. God was a rock solid reality. David had a memory bank full of experiences with the LORD. The LORD was David’s helper, healer and deliverer. In the tough times of life, God was there—was present in David’s life. The LORD brought victory for David over Goliath and over every enemy that exalted itself above God.

The same can be true for you. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes (Ephesians 6:11). Remember the LORD is on his heavenly throne. Nothing takes Him by surprise. The LORD is with you and He is watching your response. We need not be intimidated; we need not flee. We need to stand our ground like David and like Paul the Apostle. The LORD is with us.  

Response: LORD, you are my refuge. Help me to stand my ground when my faith is under attack, and help other believers to do the same by the grace of Jesus. Our faith rests on you, Lord. Amen.

Your Turn: Do you have a memory bank full of experiences with the LORD that you can draw on?

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

This post by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in book format later in 2020 by Elk Lake Publishing under the title 365 Days through the Psalms.

The Importance of Integrity

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I will praise the LORD!

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Photo by David Kitz

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

But may you have mercy on me, LORD;
    raise me up, that I may repay them.
I know that you are pleased with me,
    for my enemy does not triumph over me.
Because of my integrity you uphold me
    and set me in your presence forever.

Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and Amen.

  (Psalm 41:10-13, NIV)*

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The LORD Sustains Them

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I will praise the LORD!

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For the director of music. A psalm of David.

Blessed are those who have regard for the weak;
    the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.
The LORD protects and preserves them—
    they are counted among the blessed in the land—
    he does not give them over to the desire of their foes.
The LORD sustains them on their sickbed
    and restores them from their bed of illness.

  (Psalm 41:1-3, NIV)*

* New International Version, Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica

The Defender of the Fatherless

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Reading: Psalm 10
(Verses 12-18)
Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God.
Do not forget the helpless.
Why does the wicked man revile God?
Why does he say to himself,
“He won’t call me to account?”
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
Break the arm of the wicked man;
call the evildoer to account for his wickedness
that would not otherwise be found out.
The L
ORD is King forever and ever;
the nations will perish from his land.
You, L
ORD, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror
(NIV).

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Rideau Falls, Ottawa, ON — photo by David Kitz

Reflection
From the beginning, it has always been so. At the start of life there is a father. Without a father there is no life. Ponder those words for a moment.

Of course those words are true of a mother as well. But today’s psalm focuses on fathers. To be more accurate, the psalmist calls attention to the fatherless. Apparently, fathers aren’t just needed at the beginning of life; they are needed throughout life.

There are voices in our society that question the need for fathers. Life can go on without them. In some cases, life is better without them. But I would argue that that’s not life as life should be—as life was designed to be from the beginning. Our prisons are filled with fatherless men. A huge chunk of the misery, distress and degradation in this world is caused by the absence of fathers—men who fail to assume their role as fathers.

A good father—an active, involved father—makes a world of difference in the life of a child. As a public school teacher I saw the truth of this every day. The well-fathered child of either gender has advantages beyond compare on every social, economic and intellectual scale. We need fathers. I need a father—a perfect Father.

That’s why we can draw comfort and encouragement from this psalm. Twice the LORD promises to be a helper and defender of the fatherless. Jesus came to introduce us to our Father—a Father who cares.

Response: LORD God, father me. Thank you for caring. Help me become the father I need to be. Amen.

Your Turn: Has your father made a difference in your life for good or bad? Are you being Fathered?

*New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.

This post by award-winning author David Kitz will be published in book format later in 2020 by Elk Lake Publishing under the title 365 Days through the Psalms.