The Long-Term View: The Lord is a Refuge for the Oppressed

There is often a significant difference between the short-term and the long-term.

We see our oppressors (as the Bible calls them) winning the battle. Their violence goes unpunished. Their manipulation continues to create more supporters and greater isolation.

They arrogantly assume they have the upper hand. And in the short-term, they do.

Church leadership says, “It’s her story against his.”

Business leadership says, “He just doesn’t buy into our vision.”

The organization’s board says, “He is tough, but he gets the job done.”

None of them realize the damage that is being done. And the abuser continues to win the day.

So said Asaph in Psalm 73. The song writer gives a 3000 year old account of the sufferings of those under abuse in the home, workplace, and organization. He is frustrated by the evil he sees and the seeming hopelessness he finds to be his daily existence.

For I was envious of the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For they have no pangs until death;
their bodies are fat and sleek.
They are not in trouble as others are;
they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace;
violence covers them as a garment.
Their eyes swell out through fatness;
their hearts overflow with follies.
They scoff and speak with malice;
loftily they threaten oppression.
They set their mouths against the heavens,
and their tongue struts through the earth.
Therefore his people turn back to them,
and find no fault in them.

Psalm 73:3-10

But Asaph, like so many survivors of abuse, came to a place when clarity swept him up into the heavenlies.

Asaph sings,

But when I thought how to understand this,
it seemed to me a wearisome task,
until I went into the sanctuary of God;
then I discerned their end.
Truly you set them in slippery places;
you make them fall to ruin.
How they are destroyed in a moment,
swept away utterly by terrors!
Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms.

Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

But for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Psalm 73:17-20, 23-26, 28

Asaph entered the sanctuary. We may have that moment in a worship service, or mountain hike, or moment of quiet meditation.

It is in that moment that the long-term saves us from the short-term.

No matter what others say. No matter the attitude of a pastor, elder, or CEO. No matter the short-sighted thinking of a board president. No matter a friend’s ignorance.

The LORD is with the oppressed. He is not with the abuser. They are destroyed in a moment.

The LORD is my strength. No opinion of man. No pride of position.

The LORD is my Refuge.

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