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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Congress is Failing Psalm 72

Congress is failing, especially those members of Congress who are spitefully prolonging this stalemate.  They are failing by the standards set in Psalm 72.

Psalm 72, though it was written several thousand years ago to describe the governance of a king, is still applicable and relevant to our representative democratic republic.  In that psalm the newly inaugurated king is called upon to govern with justice and righteousness – with a focus on defending the poor.

May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor. (72:4)

This is not just a one off verse thrown in to pad out the length of the psalm – it is the main point.  This is the very thing that defines the righteous king, the one standard by which the king is to be judged. 

For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
 and saves the lives of the needy.

From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.  (72: 12 – 14)

The good king – the ideal king will be one who protects and defends the poor.  The good Congress – the ideal Congress will be one that provides for the needy and rescues the oppressed.  This is the standard by which we should evaluate the members of Congress.  This is the standard to which we should hold them.

This petty shutdown of the government hurts the very ones that Congress is supposed to help. And if that weren’t bad enough on its own, we have members of Congress like Rep. David Schweikert (who can financially afford to weather a government shutdown) saying that this is his “idea of fun.”  He’s glib.  He gloats that his obstructionist attitude has shutdown the government and is unconcerned about the people that it hurts.

This is a failure of government.  This is a failure of compassion.  This is a failure of righteous governing. 

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