I am not a lawyer, but I am a mother. Which means that though I am neither demanding in personality nor powerful in presence, I turn into a fierce advocate for my children. Watching the classic courtroom scenes from A Few Good Men and reading To Kill A Mockingbird are about as close as this girl comes to training in argument or advocacy. However, when someone I love is threatened or put into a difficult place, tenacious advocacy erupts from a dormant place deep within me.
I have watched the most shy mothers turn into brave warriors on behalf of their children, advocating for their rights, their treatment, their place at the table. It is a scary and stunning thing to watch someone advocate for another.
At some point in life, we all find ourselves in need of an advocate to greater or lesser degrees. Whether in an interview, a legal argument, or a garden-variety misunderstanding, certain circumstances will trigger within us a deep desire for someone to advocate on our behalf, someone to take up our cause and go to bat for us.
Advocacy in the Scriptures
Advocacy seems to be woven into the very character of our God. As such, it should come as no surprise that we find in ourselves a corresponding hunger to both give and receive advocacy.
While the taste of the forbidden fruit was still on Adam and Eve’s tongues, God undertook on their behalf. He, the betrayed party, killed an animal to graciously provide clothes to replace fig leaves for his ashamed creations (Genesis 3:21).
A few years later, the Lord advocated on behalf of the slain Abel (Genesis 4:10).
When Abram threw her under the bus, God Himself advocated for the vulnerable Sarai. Twice. (Genesis 12 & Genesis 20).
Abraham would later advocate for Lot and the inhabitants of the city of Sodom (Genesis 18:22-33), urging God to spare them if there were even ten righteous people in the whole populace.
A hardship-weathered-yet God-protected Joseph advocated for the very brothers who had begun his long journey of suffering (Genesis 47).
We have not even exhausted the examples of advocacy in the book of Genesis, but I think I can stop advocating for advocacy Scripturally.
When God established His people through Moses (yet another advocate) and the laws and precepts given through his mediacy, it should come as no surprise that advocacy found its way into the fabric of God’s people. Priests were established to advocate for the people before God through an elaborate system of sacrifices. God’s people were to advocate for the sojourner and stranger and even the accidental murderer (Deuteronomy 19:4).
The Greater Advocate
All these stepping stones of advocacy, whether human or divine, were meant to point us towards and lead us to the Greater Advocate, our Great High Priest, Jesus.
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God (Hebrews 2:14-17).
That the eternally offended party would come to earth, put on flesh and become the atoning sacrifice for our sins is shocking enough. But Christ not only died to make us right with God, He lives to advocate for us.
Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).
Goaded to the Greater Advocate
Lately, I have found myself looking around for an earthly advocate, someone to plead my cause, to back me, to believe in me to no avail. Yet, as strange as it sounds, I am slowly becoming thankful for the absence of earthly advocates.
The lack of lesser advocates can goad us to the greater one. Rather than allowing us to stop short, the Lord will sometimes lovingly force us to walk, by faith, all the way up to His very footstool. There we will find the Son seated at the right hand of the Father, pleading for us, advocating on our behalf.