Chosen for Privilege?


Chosen for Privilege

Psalm 86

Supplication for Help against Enemies

A Prayer of David.

Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,

for I am poor and needy.

Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;

save your servant who trusts in you.

You are my God; be gracious to me, O Lord,

for to you do I cry all day long.

Gladden the soul of your servant,

for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,

abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.

Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;

listen to my cry of supplication.

In the day of my trouble I call on you,

for you will answer me.

There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,

nor are there any works like yours.

All the nations you have made shall come

and bow down before you, O Lord,

and shall glorify your name.

For you are great and do wondrous things;

you alone are God.

Teach me your way, O Lord,

that I may walk in your truth;

give me an undivided heart to revere your name.

I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,

and I will glorify your name forever.

For great is your steadfast love toward me;

you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.

O God, the insolent rise up against me;

a band of ruffians seeks my life,

and they do not set you before them.

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

Turn to me and be gracious to me;

give your strength to your servant;

save the child of your serving girl.

Show me a sign of your favor,

so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame,

because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me. “

Hebrews 2:5-9

Exaltation through Abasement1

Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels. But someone has testified somewhere,

“What are human beings that you are mindful of them,

or mortals, that you care for them?

You have made them for a little while lower than the angels;

you have crowned them with glory and honor,

subjecting all things under their feet.”

Now in subjecting all things to them, God left nothing outside their control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to them, but we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.

Privilege is a dirty word, particularly in the fields of politics and culture. The 20th century in America provided a century of transition from government supported slavery to the claim of political, economic, and cultural power for those outside the category of wealthy, white male. We are also beginning to see other divisions beyond race and gender that influence our lives as well. Language barriers as well as geography play an important role as well. States which were once considered industrial powerhouses form part of what has been called the Rust Belt today which means privilege is reduced for everyone there. The debates continue over which things in life are rights and which are privileges.

Spiritually, we all share the privilege of being chosen by God to receive life and to receive grace. The fact that we have not earned either shows it to be a privilege. While our culture reels against the idea of being privileged by trying to point out any ways we have not been provided for compared to others, we all know someone who has it worse than us. So, rather than falsely denying our privilege, perhaps we should embrace it.

David was an expert in privilege because he had been on both sides of it. In a short period of time he had gone from neglected shepherd to military hero to being hunted by his own nation, seeking refuge in the courts of his enemies. When he finally became king, he recognized that his life had been spared on more ocassions than he could count. The author of Hebrews notes the privilege of being created human – that even the angels in heaven are not as privileged as us in God’s esteem.

What privileges do you enjoy thanks to God and others?

What responsibilities do you have as a result of those privileges?

  1. (Cp Ps 8:1–9)

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