Archives for posts with tag: needy

Woe to those who enact evil statutes
And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,
So as to deprive the needy of justice
And rob the poor of My people of their rights,
So that widows may be their spoil
And that they may plunder the orphans.
– Is 10.1-2

One of the things that God makes very clear—so clear that we cannot miss it—is his concern for the poor, the widow, the needy, and the orphan.  In our verse today, the concern extends to their treatment before the law.  They must not be oppressed just because they have no power.  They must be treated just as well as someone who has power and influence.

When we advocate on behalf of the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the needy, we are doing work of which God approves. We may disagree with how government helps the poor, we may even think it hurts sometimes more than helps, but we should also freely and willingly acknowledge the good desire to care for the poor, needy, orphan and widow.

Government isn’t perfect when it comes to programs, but at least it is trying and we should acknowledge and applaud that. My father gave his working life to just such governmental concern for the poor and needy. He was doing work of which God heartily approves.

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He will care for the needy and neglected
When they cry to him for help.
The humble and helpless will know his kindness,
For with a father’s compassion he will save their souls. (Psalms 72:12, Passion Translation)

This King that we worship is an odd king because he seems to care about others more than he does himself, which is quite un-king-like.  In addition, this King seems to care about the weakest and most vulnerable members of society the most.  He will care for the needy and neglected. Most kings care for themselves and neglect the needy, this King is just the opposite.

This King has a father’s compassion, most kings are compassionate only as it suits them to be so.  The humble and helpless will know his kindness, he pays them special attention, he makes sure that they are cared for and have peace and rest.

Spurgeon writes here: “A child’s cry touches a father’s heart, and our King is the Father of his people…The proverb says, “God helps those that help themselves; “but it is yet more true that Jesus helps those who cannot help themselves, nor find help in others.”

For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” (Deuteronomy 15:11, ESV)

God’s heart is for the poor and needy.  He tells the Israelites that there will always be poor in the land and in light of that fact his commandment is that his people open wide their hands to those who are in need, a clear instruction to pay attention to the plight of those who need help and then help them.

The application of this principle is where we run into difficulty.  Do we keep giving to those who act irresponsibly?  To those who are trolling for free cash and know that churches give to the poor?  To those who would waste money on thinks like alcohol and drugs?

Tim Keller lays out a really good principle here:  Let mercy limit mercy.  It is not wise to aid and abet an alcoholic so to refuse to give him money is an act of mercy, you are preventing him from continuing in sin (or at least attempting to do so), thereby allowing mercy to limit mercy.

Having said that, Keller also recommends that at first we be quick to be generous.  My own tendency is not to be quick being generous but to be slow to be generous.  I need work in this area to overcome this natural bent.

“If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him?”
(1 John 3:17 HCSB)

There is a lot about the Scriptures that is opaque, mysterious, and difficult to understand.  One thing that is not difficult to understand is the repeated scriptural admonition to help the poor and needy.  It is a common theme that runs through the Old and New Testament alike, virtues of both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

Here John puts it in the form of helping our brothers (in Christ).  Is a brother or sister in need in the body of Christ?  Surely that is an opportunity to help her/him.  Indeed, we can even call it a test of where our hearts are.  Give something to alleviate the need and God’s love resides in you, give nothing and “how can God’s love reside in” you?

Aiding the poor and needy is a true test of our heart.