God calls us to be ambassadors for him and advocates for those in need. And the Bible is filled with verses in which God specifically asks us to speak on behalf of others, as well as condemnation of civilizations who chose not to, or worse, who oppressed widows and orphans and took advantage of workers.
So how does this play out in our day? How can we fulfill God’s call to do justice and love mercy in our own day? Our friends at World Vision have a few things to say about advocacy for God’s people who are most in need.
By World Vision
If secular advocacy is calling on government officials to pay attention to what’s important to you, biblical advocacy should be reminding them to do what God has called them to do – since 88 percent of the members of Congress publicly claim faith in Christ. What has God called them to do? Read on for what God’s Word says about advocating for these people he loves.
But first, let’s consider the stories of advocacy throughout the Bible – think of Moses, Daniel, and Esther, people who rose to the occasion (even if reluctantly) when God called them. To secure the Israelites’ freedom, Moses used his connection to Pharaoh to speak for the people. Daniel spoke up on behalf of himself, his friends, and his faith when he and his friends were taken from their own people and delivered to a king and country they did not know.
Esther was willing to risk everything to save her people. “… I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). By using her influence with the king to advocate for the Jews, she put her newly found status as queen, and even her own life, on the line. And it worked: King Ahasuerus heard Esther’s pleas. She and her people were saved.
God also calls each of us to be good stewards of our gifts. As Americans, we have the gift of influence with our government. When we steward that gift well, leaders can make decisions that fight the systemic causes of poverty, conflict, and injustice. One determined voice can help change lives around the world — and that voice could belong to you.
Verses about God’s heart for advocacy:
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
“Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
“He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.”
“Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the LORD delivers them in times of trouble.”
“And the heavens proclaim his righteousness, for he is a God of justice.”
“This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed.”
“This is what the LORD says: ‘Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
“But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
“This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.”
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
“But now as for what is inside you – be generous to the poor, and everything will be clean for you.”
2 Corinthians 8:13-15
“Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
1 John 3:17-18
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed.”
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
Consider what Mordecai tells Esther as she’s considering whether she should advocate for her people: “And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). Is God calling you to be an advocate somewhere?