God and the Outcast
“[God] identifies with the powerless, he takes up their cause.
It is hard for us to understand how revolutionary this was in the ancient world. Sri Lankan scholar Vinoth Ramachandra calls this ‘scandalous justice.’ He writes that in virtually all the ancient cultures of the world, the power of the gods was channeled through and identified with the elites of society, the kings, priests, and military captains, not the outcasts. To oppose the leaders of society, then, was to oppose the gods. ‘But here, in Israel’s rival vision,’ it is not high-ranking males but ‘the orphan, the widow, and the stranger’ with whom Yahweh takes his stand. ‘His power is exercised in history for their empowerment.’ So, from ancient times, the God of the Bible stood out from the gods of all other religions as a God on the side of the powerless, and of justice for the poor.”
—Timothy Keller in
My prayer this week: Lord, you are a good God, the One True God! You see the “powerless” as vessels to be loved, not scorned. In the same way, you see my weakness … and love and use me still! I’m grateful. Help me always recognize you as my loving Father, even as I reach out to meet the needs of others, as you’ve commanded me to do.