“Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9.
These words were spoken to King Lemuel by his mother. Though scholars are not exactly sure who King Lemuel was, one thing they are sure of is this– he is the embodiment of what a Godly king should be. In fact, his name, Lemuel, literally means “consecrated to God.” A righteous ruler is to be just that, consecrated to God, and seeking to rule in accordance with His law.
God is not a fan of oppression or injustice. He is a just God and He rules with love, not through fear like a tyrant. God is here communicating to Lemuel that he should be the same; that he must take care of those who have no friends, who have no means, and who have no voice. Repeatedly throughout the Old Testament, we see where God takes special care of widows and orphans–two groups of people who were at the absolute bottom of society at that time. In the New Testament, we see Christ following this same pattern; throughout His entire ministry, Christ befriended people possessed with demons, whores, lepers, tax collectors, Gentiles, and sinners of all sorts who were neglected and mistreated by mainstream society. He ministered to them, and He cared for them. Wherever there were outcasts, Christ was there.
Many people today forget that the call to follow Christ is also a call to pursue social justice. Injustice and oppression are rampant in the world today, we need only to turn on the news to be made aware of that. The horrors of such evil did not end with the defeat of Nazi-ism in the 1940s or other similar tyrannical groups. There is still much oppression to be found in the world, and here in our own backyards. Many people will turn on their televisions and see horrific images and hear about tragedies from all around the world and they may ask, “Where is God? Why hasn’t He done something?” The more important question is, “Where are God’s people? Why aren’t they doing something?”
We are charged to speak up for the oppressed and the abused, just as King Lemuel was. Christ expects this of us if we desire to be His followers. It is our God-given duty to the rest of humanity. If we, as the people of God, do not speak up against the oppression, injustice, and evil in the world, then who will? If not us, then who?