It isn’t easy to snatch hope from the wicked. Just ask the women of Dawn’s Place. They know what it takes. So does the woman in Psalm 112.
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I’ve re-worded Psalm 112 for women, with major thanks to Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein’s plain English translation of all the Psalms, and a nod to the Good News Bible’s plain English translation of the Bible.
Praise the Lord!
Happy is any woman who fears the Lord and loves the Lord’s precepts,
She will be a heroine, as will her children;
In a time of prosperity, her home will abound with wealth,
while her honesty is well known.
There is a light in the darkness for the trustworthy woman,
who remains compassionate, merciful, and forthright;
Who gladly gives a loan while claiming no more than she is due,
so that she will never fail and will be recognized as reliable.
She will not worry about a sudden crash, but keeps her faith in God.
Nobody can unnerve her, and her opponents soon turn and withdraw.
Through regular generosity to the needy she attains a place of honor,
while the wicked stare in frustration, gritting their teeth in dismay.
Their hopes are gone forever.
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Psalm 112 ends with the wicked, but it focuses on the woman whose daily life frustrates the wicked. She doesn’t take them on directly, but lives and breathes truth and hope to her family and her neighbors, including the stranger in her back yard.
The wicked have contempt for truth. They prefer big fat lies, false promises, fear and apathy. They want this woman to look the other way or pass by without noticing the needy human being in front of her. Someone’s child or a neighbor who needs compassion, kindness, forthrightness, generosity.
The wicked call out:
- Follow me! I’ll be your best friend forever!
- You’re special! You deserve to be happy, well-educated, treated with dignity, rich, adored and appreciated.
- Whatever your goals, I can help you meet them. No strings attached!
- You know, I really respect you. I’m not like other men. Trust me.
They lure their prey, then deliver sudden death—like ravenous lions crouching at the door.
I want to snatch hope, piece by piece, from the
smirking, lusting deceptively attractive jaws of the wicked. This Psalm shows me what it takes. It invites me to follow the way of this godly woman, to make a difference–now and for the future.
Not everyone agrees, especially when it comes to human trafficking.
- What makes you think you can make a difference? This isn’t going away!
- That’s just the way it is, honey. Get over it!
- Why throw away your life energy, limited time, precious money and your already bruised reputation?
- Get real! If you think you’re making progress right here, it’s just going to pop up over there!
Lies. All lies.
If you or I touch the life of just one trafficked or at-risk person, that’s more than enough!
We’re not called to save the world. We’re called to get off our butts! Get interested. Listen and learn. Pray. Give. Take a risk! Make a ruckus! Show one needy person that you care. Refuse to look the other way!
Sometimes we think this is about them—the women, children and men being trafficked daily. It is about them; it’s also about us.
We’re all damaged goods. Damaged by contempt others have for us, and by our own contempt for ourselves and others. Human trafficking thrives on contempt for God’s creatures.
In the end, we need each other. Their stories remind us of our own need for healing, especially sexual healing. Telling our stories to each other brings the truth into light. The truth about us, not just about them.
Ultimately, this is God’s battle. Yet like God, Moses and the Hebrew slaves, there’s no delivery from human slavery unless we do our part. Perhaps we think we have nothing to offer, or that our friend over there is better suited for this battle! Not so.
In the end, God calls each of us to BE hope, not just to ‘have’ hope or ‘talk about,’ ‘reflect upon’ or even read another book about hope.
In fact, we might also be surprised by hope! Our hidden hopelessness needs the bright light of truth, grace and healing. Healing begins when our stories connect with the stories of others. Especially the stories of women, men and children at risk of being bought, sold, used, abused, damaged, forgotten and discarded.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 March 2014
First presented to a gathering of women in December 2013
Image: Dawn’s Place logo