“O Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, rouse yourself to punish all the nations ”. – Psalm 59:5 NIV
Edmund Burke remarked, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Many social evils have only been overcome when some godly soul took up the cudgels and did something about it. When Wilberforce and members of the “Clapham Sect” campaigned against the slave trade was a case in point.
The psalm-writer knew that only God was mighty enough to overcome the people who opposed him and so pleaded with God to “Rouse yourself”. Believers often pray to God to “do something” when they themselves do nothing. So they bring before God all manner of evil they think needs to be abolished – poverty, terrorism, child abuse, and many others. But sometimes (often?) the prayers they bring are an excuse or an apology for doing nothing themselves. Sometimes they wax eloquent with graphic language from the Bible which they employ in some of their petitions, “O rend the heavens and come down”, or “Make bare your mighty arm” are often used in these fervent prayers.
However, the call to “Rouse yourself” could just as easily be addressed to the mass of Christian believers. Many fine things are being done by earnest Christian disciples. Much more could be achieved if people got up off their seats, rolled up their sleeves and tried becoming the answers to their own prayers. When the Salvation Army went into the East End of London in the late Victorian era they had a slogan, “Soup, soap and salvation”. And they achieved amazing wonders because their leader, William Booth, had heard God calling to him, “Rouse yourself” and the whole Army did so!
Lord, help me to bring your power to bear where it is needed.