This study is an excerpt from “The Sanctity of Human Life,” a single session study available with a free trial of smallgroup.com
Have you ever had to help a helpless animal, perhaps a baby bird or a small stray dog? What was wrong, and how did you help the animal?
What made you feel compassion for the animal?
If we see a baby bird out of a nest, or a puppy that is abandoned by its mother or owner, our natural instinct is to help. Many stray kittens and puppies have become household pets because someone couldn’t stand to see the poor animal suffer! We should have compassion for creatures in need; their helplessness appeals to our sense of mercy.
If we have compassion on animals in distress, shouldn’t we also have compassion on human children in distress? No child is more helpless or dependent than a child in the womb. This morning, we will study what the Word of God says about helping the helpless and advocating for those who need our help.
Ask a Volunteer to read Psalm 82:1-2.
What do you think the divine assembly is? What does it mean that God is judging among the “gods”?
Who is God speaking to when He asks the questions of verse 2? Why would people show partiality to the wicked?
In this Psalm, Asaph shows us that this is a serious, solemn occasion. God has gathered with the “gods,” which could be translated “heavenly beings” or perhaps even “earthly rulers.” Regardless of how we understand the word “gods” here, it is evident that this is a great body gathered in order for God to pronounce judgment upon the people for how they have been behaving.
The Lord God speaks to His people, and He asks why they have been unjust by showing partiality to the wicked. It is easy to be partial to people in power. People in power have more influence than the needy, and they have a louder voice. This makes the temptation to pervert justice in their favor a perennial threat.
Ask a Volunteer to read Psalm 82:3-4.
Why is it specifically the “needy and fatherless” who need justice?
Who are the most needy in our day? How can we advocate for justice for them?
The needy and the fatherless, the poor and needy, the oppressed and the destitute—these all need protection because they do not have the means or power to seek justice for themselves. In our world, as in the ancient one, they did not have the money to acquire proper representation, and they did not have the power to influence others to hear their plight.
In our day, who fits this description better than the unborn? Tragically, many women who seek abortions do not have the support of the baby’s father. They have no money, no voice, and are completely helpless to defend themselves in any way. As for their rights, the babies are currently not considered persons under the law. Instead of being recognized as human beings, they are simply referred to as a “fetus,” to make us believe that they are less than human.
The arguments to take away their life is that their life is worth less than the mother’s financial well-being. It isn’t just a matter of the life of the mother, a child can be aborted as a matter of present and future financial well-being for the mother. This is a terrible injustice, and it robs babies in the wombs of their rights as people made in the image of God.
Ask a Volunteer to read Proverbs 24:10-12.
What is the call to action in this passage? What does God expect of us?
How can we help those who are “stumbling toward slaughter”?
Why can’t we claim ignorance of the situation?
The Lord expects that if we see injustice, we ought to do something about it, especially when other lives are in danger. If we do not help, then we are a weak people. God expects us to rescue those in dire situations, not ignore them. With regard to abortion, this means we have a responsibility both to mothers and to unborn children. Most mothers do not pick abortion as a first course of action. They feel that they have no other choice. Many single mothers are trapped in poverty, or have no support from their family or the father of the baby. If we really want to help the unborn, we have to begin by helping the mothers. We have to be the support that they lack.
By helping ministries like crisis pregnancy centers and other pro-life support ministries, we can give mothers the support and encouragement they need. We can provide counsel by telling them about the beauty of adoption, we can provide diapers and food for those who want to keep their children, and we can provide support and friendship that they might not otherwise receive.
We know that abortion is a great evil in our society, and we ought to feel a compulsion to help in some way. By volunteering to serve in pro-life ministries, by advocating for the unborn, and by befriending mothers who have nowhere else to turn, we can save some of those who are “stumbling toward slaughter.”
Help your group identify how the truths from the Scripture passage apply directly to their lives.
How can we as a group help mothers in at-risk pregnancies?
Are there any local ministries we could support with our time and money that help mothers in difficult pregnancies?
What is our responsibility to help as individuals?