“Behold, the princes of Israel in you, every one according to his power, have been bent on shedding blood. Father and mother are treated with contempt in you; the sojourner suffers extortion in your midst; the fatherless and the widow are wronged in you.”
This is the beginning of a paragraph of a list of specific ways that God’s people have dishonored him by dishonoring others, have not glorified him by ignoring people in need, extorting people in need, treating people with contempt. How, from Ezekiel 22:6, the people with power have used that power for their own gain and for others’ hurt. Such a clear reminder that when God entrust power, influence, leadership to anyone, he intends that for the good of others, not for the harm of others. And yet we are all tempted in this world to take power, influence, that we have and to use it to harm others.
Throughout Scripture, God commands His people to care for those in need around them.
Verse seven. “Father and mother are treated with contempt in you.” Dishonoring of fathers and mothers in a way that goes directly against God’s word, God’s design for children and parents. “The sojourner suffers extortion in your midst.” All throughout scripture we see God commanding his people to care for the sojourner, the immigrant, the one who is away from his or her homeland in your midst. Care for the sojourner. “The fatherless and the widow are wronged in you.” Another two groups of people, the orphan and the widow, who God over and over and over again tells his people to care for and provide for. So we’re provoked to pray. God, be glorified in us we pray in the way we love, care for, treat, and honor others around us, particularly people in need around us. God, with any power or influence you’ve given to us, please help us to use that power, influence, for others’ good.
God, please keep us from using power and influence in us for selfish gain. God, as a leader in your church, God, I just provoked to pray. Please help me in every way to use my leadership in your church for every other pastor leader in your church. Help us to use leadership in your church for the good of people around us, never for selfish gain. God, I pray for this for every person listening right now, help them to realize any power or influence you have given them and help us to see how we can use that for others’ good, not for our own gain. Lord, we pray that you would help us to honor our fathers and mothers. God help us to be children and parents who glorify you with the way we love one another and our families. God, we pray that you’d help us to care for immigrants in our midst, regardless of where we live in the world. As people from other places who’ve been oftentimes driven from their homeland for a variety of very painful reasons.
God, we pray that you’d help us to care for them well, to love them as we love ourselves. God, we pray for orphans. God, help us to be faithful to your command. To look after orphans and widows in their distress. God, please help us to care for them, to provide for them. We pray across our churches for the growth of foster care ministries, adoption ministries. Lord, for your character and love and provision for orphans to be on display in your church in the way we are caring for children in vulnerable situations.
God, we pray that your character and love would be on display in the way we love and care for widows. God, for, just like 1 Timothy 5, details for widows to know your love and your provision and your sustenance through us as your church. We pray, God, please help us in all these ways and so many more. God, please help us today, especially when it comes to any power, influence, we have. Our family relationships with parents, children, among immigrants around us, among orphans and widows. God, please help us to reflect on your love and your character. Help us to glorify you with the way we love and honor and live for others’ good. In Jesus’ name, we pray, amen.