The LORD executes righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
actively engaged in securing the interests of the oppressed. That goes into the word used, "executeth." We might think of justice and judgment as the pillars of God's throne, and yet conceive of him as only announcing his just decisions; leaving to others the work of carrying them out. To put it in a formal way, the legislative rights of God may be recognized, but the executive rights of God may be denied. We may fully hold both truths of fact. God does pronounce his own judgments; God does execute his own sentences. The figure for God is especially effective in Eastern countries, where justice is so often perverted, and the oppressed have no chance if they happen to be poor. Illustrate by our Lord's parable of the unjust judge and the importunate widow. All the oppressed and poor may be absolutely sure that Jehovah will considerately hear their cases, deal with perfect uprightness in relation to their trouble, and carry out his decisions, whatever they may involve.
I. THE LORD OF THE OPPRESSED HEEDS THE OPPRESSED. The poor often find it nearly impossible to get their cases brought before the magistrates, judges, or kings of earth. It is the righteousness of God that he is right towards every one; all may seek, and none ever seeks in vain. There is absolute freedom given to every man and woman under the sun to tell out the trouble to the Lord. And we may have absolute faith that no tale of human need was ever poured out before God, and disregarded by him. It is a beginning of hope, that the Lord surely heeds us.
II. THE LORD OF THE OPPRESSED ACTS FOR THE OPPRESSED. God's decisions never merely lie on a statute book, like many acts of earthly courts and parliaments. If God decides a thing, it has to be carried out; nay, he himself presides over the carrying it out. We are to have confidence in the Divine energy and activity. "Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he will bring it to pass." How, when, where, he will execute his judgments, we may not anticipate; it is enough for an oppressed soul to know that God is acting for him. "He will bring forth our righteousness as the light, and our judgment as the noon day."
III. THE LORD OF THE OPPRESSED ACTS UPON THE OPPRESSORS. It is not merely that the oppressed are delivered or defended; it is that those who have injured them feel the weight of Divine indignation. Judgment is in one sense for the oppressed, and in another sense for the oppressors. - R.T.
The Lord executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed.
Homilist.In the preceding verses the hymnist exhorts himself to praise the Great God on account of the benefits conferred on himself. Here he strikes off into general reasons why he and all men should bless His holy name.
I. God's conduct in relation to the SOCIALLY OPPRESSED. He "executeth righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed" (Job 36:5, 6; Isaiah 10:1, 2; Proverbs 22:22, 23; Psalm 111:12; Amos 8:4-6; Deuteronomy 24:14, 15; Matthew 19:27; James 5:1-5).
1. To some extent in this life this is seen in the strength that is given the oppressed to bear up under all their trials, and in the unhappiness and the ruin that God brings upon their oppressors. Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Herod, Napoleon.
2. He does so fully in the life to come.
II. God's conduct in relation to the METHODS OF REVEALING HIMSELF TO MANKIND (ver. 7). There is a great difference between the "ways" and the acts of any intelligent agent; as different as cause and effect. All men have their particular ways of doing a thing. God has His way, His method of action.
1. It is more difficult to know the "ways" of God than to know the "acts" of God. A child may understand many of the actions of a philosophic father, but not his ways or methods of action. Israel understood many of the acts of God; but Moses only rose to a knowledge of His ways, His principles, and manner of actions.
2. It is more important to know the ways of God than the acts of God.(1) As a man knows His ways, he may forecast the future. Such and such events will occur in the future because it is in the order of the Divine procedure.(2) As a man knows His ways he may acquiesce in His dispensations.(3) As a man knows His ways he becomes exalted in thought and sympathy.
III. God's conduct in relation to SINNERS IN GENERAL (vers. 8-10).
1. His mercy is longsuffering. "Slow to anger."
2. His mercy is abundant. "Plenteous in mercy."
3. His mercy overcomes His resentment.
4. His mercy restrains punishment (ver. 10).
IV. God's conduct in relation to the GENUINELY PIOUS (vers. 11-14).
1. Immeasurable grace (ver. 11).
2. Sin-removing grace (ver. 12).
3. Fatherly considerateness (vers. 13, 14). Our physical, intellectual, and moral constitutions are thoroughly understood by Him. If He thus knows us, we may infer two things —(1) That He will not lay on us more trials than we are capable of enduring.(2) That He will not demand of us more service than we are capable of rendering.
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