10Don't give up and be helpless
in times of trouble.
11Don't fail to rescue those
who are doomed to die.
12Don't say, “I didn't know it!”
God can read your mind.
He watches each of us
and knows our thoughts.
And God will pay us back
for what we do.
It easy to say, “What can one person do?” Or, “With such odds stacked against me, how can I change my circumstances?” We settle into fatalistic thinking, which usually breeds cynicism. It is hardly a joyful way to live. Today’s proverbs challenge helpless resignation. Can we change all that is wrong with the world? Of course not. Yet we can change more than we often give ourselves credit for. And sometimes we need to raise questions about existing circumstances just because we are in position to do so and someone needs to find a voice.
These proverbs lead to several conclusions. First, we are not to let trouble paralyze us. Sometimes solutions emerge as we face problems and start to take the little initial steps that we can see to do. They are not the solution but they start us on the path. Sometimes help arrives, in various forms, once we launch out to improve things. Second, when people are headed for destruction, whether by their own choice or from external pressures, we need to step in to redirect or rescue, if possible. Pretending we cannot see their plight is not an option. We know what is really going on – and so does God. Cain tried to evade responsibility after he had murdered his brother Abel, by asking the Lord, “Am I supposed to look after my brother?” (Genesis 4:9) The answer is, “Yes.” It takes courage, but the Lord gives it to those who face the troubles we find in life with eyes fixed on Jesus.
God of hope, even Christ’s death on the cross did not conquer the life you bring to his disciples. Fix our eyes on our resurrected Lord to find your Spirit’s strength, courage and guidance for our troubles. Through Christ our Lord, we pray. Amen.