Vindicate the weak and fatherless...

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In his own eyes, every man is righteous.

Recently, my wife was having dinner with a large group celebrating the birthday of a dear woman who had reached her ninety-seventh year. One of the men at the table proposed they sing "Happy Birthday," but there was a fly in the ointment: a woman in their group voiced disapproval of such an intrusion in the privacy of others.

Another man at the table responded, "Oh, come on; all of us would be happy to hear a table singing 'Happy Birthday'!" Seeing she'd lost the battle, the table began to sing while the objector got up and walked away. One celebrant announced to the others in the restaurant, "She's ninety-seven!", so of course the whole restaurant joined in the happy chorus. It was very sweet.

When the song was over, the objector returned to the table and my wife asked, "I guess you were making yourself scarce?"

She replied, "I have high morals and I take them very seriously."

This isn't an article on ethnic or regional differences in conviviality...

A much-loved brother has described to me regional differences in his native Germany concerning conversation in restaurants. He tells me down in southern Germany diners talk with each other and it's not unusual for a perfect stranger to join your table whereas, up in northern Germany, the man who tries to strike up a conversation is likely to have his neighbor get up and move.

But back to the woman's "high morals" she takes "very seriously." We must assume she chose her words. She didn't speak of her standards of etiquette. She didn't attribute her opposition to public "Happy Birthdays" as a comfort issue. She was explicit in attributing her public expression of disapproval to her "high morals."

So in this woman's moral hierarchy, would opposition to the public singing of "Happy Birthday" be up there next to adultery? Sodomy? Murder? Remember we're dealing here with "high morals" taken "very seriously." Have morals really become so trivial?

In my view, making a public statement by getting up and leaving a table celebrating a woman's ninety-seventh birthday ranks up there with the Clippers denouncing their owner's racism by wearing their warmup jerseys inside out during the NBA playoffs last week. The chattering class reserves public shaming for serious stuff like cutting trees down after the bats start nesting, driving alone in a full-size SUV, getting married young, having more than one child, and drinking super-sized soda pop.

Or singing "Happy Birthday" in a restaurant.

Satan is hell-bent on displacing God's ten big laws with countless preferences and prejudices. Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day, saying "You nullify the Word of God for the sake of your traditions."

Our choice is clear: either we live by God's Ten Big Laws or we live under the tyranny of the endless rules of petty bourgeois morality.

A few years ago, a young father recounted to me how a physician had suggested that he and his wife terminate their pregnancy because their ultrasound had indicated possible fetal abnormalities. Since the father was a perfect gentleman, I asked if he'd punched the doctor?

He responded with a look of bewilderment.

So I explained myself, saying that if I understood the story correctly, this doctor had suggested to him and his wife that they murder their little boy, and I couldn't understand why he hadn't responded to this man's wickedness and grotesque insensitivity by punching him in his face? Or, if he wanted to avoid arrest, he could have berated the man so loudly that every other patient as well as the nurse and receptionist would have wondered what on earth had happened in the examining room?

You get the point. While the pagans we live among shame us for singing "Happy Birthday" in restaurants, we Christians respond to our doctor's proposal that we murder our little babies with silence.

These are the thoughts that came to mind today as I read Psalm 82:

(A Psalm of Asaph.) God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly And show partiality to the wicked? Selah.

Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.

They do not know nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken.

I said, “You are gods, And all of you are sons of the Most High. Nevertheless you will die like men And fall like any one of the princes.”

Arise, O God, judge the earth! For it is You who possesses all the nations. - Psalms 82:1-8


Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!