Psalm 146:5-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers;
he upholds the orphan and the widow,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!
In reading the scriptures I am struck by how often the litmus test for faithful leadership is the care of widows and orphans, oppressed and hungry, prisoners and those who are bowed down. It is as if God’s judgment on leadership is determined how those in these conditions are treated, especially by the King and other leaders.
Contrast the way God will treat the King and the oppressors of those in the aforementioned conditions. God promises that those who do not help are considered wicked and will be brought to ruin.
We live in a HIGHLY politicized time. Much of the disagreement we have politically boils down to how we treat those in the conditions mentioned above today. Some believe government is the answer. Others advocate for churches to be the “social fabric” that keeps people from falling through the cracks. Others prefer to ignore the needs, or blame those who are in such conditions for making “bad choices” that contribute to their condition.
In this part of Psalm 146, the psalmist is reminding us that it is ultimately God’s work in the
world to bring hope and blessings to ALL people. The promise is that God will not ignore the plight of those who struggle in these ways, and will hold US accountable to how we respond. And blessed (happy) will be those whose help is the God of Jacob!