podcast

#956 – Praying for the Weak, Afflicted, and Destitute (Psalm 82:3–4)

Pray The Word
Psalms
82
3-4
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Before we dive into today’s Pray The Word, I just want to make a brief note about a shift that we’re going to make in these podcast episodes over the coming days in light of the COVID-19 pandemic that is spreading around the world and the church that I pastor, we’re obviously shifting what we had planned during this time to focus on some different things in the word. We’ve actually been walking through a Bible reading plan that includes First Corinthians. That’s why on the Pray The Word Podcast episodes, we’ve been just diving into different verses, soaking in a whole chapter of First Corinthians each week, but we’ve also been reading to the Psalms at the same time as a church together. And so I’m encouraging our folks, we’re going to kind of put a pause on First Corinthians and jumped back into just reading the Psalms. And so what I want to do during these days in the Pray The Word Podcasts is to pray based on different Psalms each day.

I love the Psalms, I love how they speak to all kinds of things that we walk through in this world, and particularly in difficult, challenging, confusing, surreal times, just to see the way God’s word powerfully speaks to right where we are. And I’ve loved reading through the Psalms over the last couple of weeks as this pandemic has spread and just seeing the sufficiency of God’s word every single day. And so, for the time being, we’re going to jump into different Psalms each day, starting in Psalm 82 today just because that’s where the Bible reading in the church that I pastor, McLean Bible Church, we’ve been walking through. So, for those who are part of our church family, it’ll go along with our Bible reading but certainly for the many who listen to this podcast who are not a part of the McLean Bible Church family, I hope that praying through the Psalms will be a particular encouragement during these days.

“Give justice to the weak and the fatherless. Maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy. Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
(Psalm 82:3–4)

You hear a clear emphasis in these verses and really this whole Psalm, it’s a pretty short Psalm, just eight verses, but God is concerned for the weak. He mentions it twice in these two verses we’ve just read. The weak are mentioned twice, the fatherless, the afflicted, the destitute, and the needy, all mentioned in this Psalm, just appealing to God for help. And there’s a sense in which around the world we find ourselves in one of these categories. We are all in need. We are all humbled by the reality of this pandemic and reminded of the fragility of life and our need for God and his grace, the fact that he is the one who sustains us at every single moment.

As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc throughout the world, let’s call out to our gracious God who is indeed the Rescuer of the weak and needy.

So there’s a sense in which we are all needy. At the same time, there are certainly individuals, countries like Italy, Spain, certainly China, South Korea, the United States where there are so many of these cases. And then you can just add to the list of countries around the world that are dealing with this, where people are afflicted, where many tens of thousands are weak. And we look at Psalm 82 and we realize that God is the one who rescues the weak and God is the one who helps the needy and God is the one who delivers the afflicted and the destitute. God is the one who is the father to the fatherless. A particularly powerful picture when I think about my son who’s in China right now, that I’m waiting to go pick up and bring home.

So I just want to lead us to pray. Psalm 82 verses three and four and as we pray to see ourselves as needy, crying out to God and at the same time to intercede for the weak and the afflicted and the destitute all around us right now. What more valuable thing could we do right now then to, oh God, come before you. And one, praise you. God, we praise you that you are, in your might, in your power, in your sovereignty, you are not far from us, that you are close to us, that you are the defender of the weak and the father to the fatherless and the helper of the afflicted and the destitute. We glorify you. We praise you, God, for coming to us in the person of Jesus, for living among us, for healing the sick, for bringing the dead to life. Lord, we find all of our hope, all of our hope, in you during these days where we all are reminded of our need for you.

God, we know not one of us has breath right now or five minutes from now or later today or tomorrow, we don’t have breath, without your sustenance and your provisions. So, God, we look to you as a needy people right now and we pray. We pray on behalf of those who are sick right now, for those who are physically weak due to this virus. We pray for your help for them. God, we pray for people that we know. I’m thinking about individuals like, God, please help them in their weakness. God, we pray for people and countries around the world where it just feels destitute right now, where there is so much need, and particularly for places where there’s not a lot of access to medical care. God, please, please provide, please help, God. We just pray for the spread of your mercy and your help, your defense, your provision just like Psalm 82 talks about.

And we praise you for this privilege, God, that we get to come directly to you through Jesus right now and to ask for these things in our own lives and on behalf of those around us. So we pray all day long, all day long that Psalm 82 would drive us to intercede for the weak, the fatherless. I pray for my son and all sorts of other children who don’t have families. I pray for the afflicted, the destitute, the weak, and the needy. May they all look to you and find in you all the provision we need. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and president of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.
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