Tag Archives: Poor

Truth Revealed

Proverbs 29:13

The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the Lord lighteneth both their eyes. (KJV)
The poor and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both. (NASB)

Plain meaning

This verse obviously has an upfront meaning: God, as Creator, gives sight to people of every social status. It makes sense.

One thing that comes into conflict with this meaning, however, is that some people are born blind or are blinded in the course of life.

Suddenly the plain meaning seems tricky in certain circumstances. Though we should remember that proverbs are generalized statements, but perhaps there is a deeper meaning.

Plain truth

In Romans 1, Paul tells us:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse

What all of this is saying is that God has given us the ability to see what is going on around us – to discern what is right, what is wrong, and that God is real and in control.

God has revealed His truth throughout Creation and especially in His Son, Jesus Christ.

He has “lighteneth” all of our eyes, allowed us to see what is plain. He has enlightened us.

What are we doing with this knowledge? What are we doing with this sight?

Lord, open our hearts to what our eyes can see. Help us to accept the truth that is evident. Help us to trust and believe You.

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Oppressing the Poor

Proverbs 22: 22-23 

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
 and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life. (NIV)

Once again the writer challenges our attitudes to the poor. How we treat those who are poorer than us, or even weaker than us is important. Most of us would probably read this proverb and think that it doesn’t apply to us personally because we haven’t robbed or oppressed anybody. Perhaps we haven’t, but are we sure? What about times we have failed to stand up for someone? Take it right back to the school playground where it was easier to walk away than stand up for a fellow pupil facing ridicule or even physical violence. I can remember thinking ‘rather him than me’ on more than one occasion.

Then there is the work place. When I joined the Merchant Navy as a sixteen-year-old cadet it was made perfectly clear to me that I was at the bottom of the pecking order. The chief officer on my first ship used to shout at me regularly, perhaps because he had been treated the same way when he was starting his career. I remember the captain sticking up for me one day and the treatment I received improved a little after that. A few years later when I was an officer I found myself speaking up for a young Rastafarian able seaman who was assigned to my watch. In this case the bosun and another seaman were making this young man’s life a misery, with the knowledge of the chief officer! He had nobody to plead his case until I stepped in. I did not make myself popular in the process, but I could not ignore what was going on.

Oppression takes many forms. Read through these verses again – there is a significant warning in verse 22. Is God challenging you about your attitude to others, or is He calling you to take a stand in someone’s defense today?


Oppressing the Poor

Proverbs 22: 22-23 

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
 and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life. (NIV)

Once again the writer challenges our attitudes to the poor. How we treat those who are poorer than us, or even weaker than us is important. Most of us would probably read this proverb and think that it doesn’t apply to us personally because we haven’t robbed or oppressed anybody. Perhaps we haven’t, but are we sure? What about times we have failed to stand up for someone? Take it right back to the school playground where it was easier to walk away than stand up for a fellow pupil facing ridicule or even physical violence. I can remember thinking ‘rather him than me’ on more than one occasion.

Then there is the work place. When I joined the Merchant Navy as a sixteen-year-old cadet it was made perfectly clear to me that I was at the bottom of the pecking order. The chief officer on my first ship used to shout at me regularly, perhaps because he had been treated the same way when he was starting his career. I remember the captain sticking up for me one day and the treatment I received improved a little after that. A few years later when I was an officer I found myself speaking up for a young Rastafarian able seaman who was assigned to my watch. In this case the bosun and another seaman were making this young man’s life a misery, with the knowledge of the chief officer! He had nobody to plead his case until I stepped in. I did not make myself popular in the process, but I could not ignore what was going on.

Oppression takes many forms. Read through these verses again – there is a significant warning in verse 22. Is God challenging you about your attitude to others, or is He calling you to take a stand in someone’s defense today?


Under Another

Proverbs 22:7

The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Buying a House

My wife and I just bought our first house.

Technically, it is not really ours, because we have to pay the bank for buying it for us. That means, for up to 30 years, the bank owns our house.

During that time, the bank owns our money. We have to give to them, or they can take from us our dwelling place! We serve them until the debt is paid.

Emotional Dependency

Banks may have financial superiority over many a homeowner, but there are other ways people control others.

The emotionally weak person will be either controlled by those who are more out of control of their emotions or inadvertently control their relationships out of their need.

The former situation has the person whose emotions are all over the place seeking power over the weaker person. They are rich in emotional intensity that they cannot control, therefore they control someone else.

The latter situation has the emotionally needy person draining others’ time and emotions. In this sense, it can be seen as the one rich in need has control over the person poor of need.

Neither is morally justifiable, but it happens all the time.

Moral Superiority

We all find ourselves in some emotional or moral need from time to time or for our entire lives.

There is One who is in perfect control of His emotions, and, though completely sovereign, He does not force us to obey Him, but He calls all people to repentance and forgiveness.

God wants us to live godly lives, not lives of manipulation of strong over weak.

Heavenly Father, help us to be good stewards of all that You have entrusted to us: finances, possessions, emotions, and each other. Guide us by the Holy Spirit into all righteousness, and rule over our hearts with Your grace and love.


People Preferences

Proverbs 22:2

The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.
Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all.

Personal Preferences

We all have people we like more than others. This is why we have friends and families. There are just some people we like having around more than other people.

There is nothing wrong with liking some people more than others. Even Jesus had close friends (see His Twelve Disciples, and of those Peter, James, and John who were His closest friends).

The real danger comes when we show preferences for others for selfish reasons, when love for others is not the primary cause.

Favoritism

We must remember that God sees all people equally: as His loved children.

He does not love one more for having money and possessions or for not having money nor possessions.

God cares most for those who express their love and devotion for Him, yet He still shows love and grace to all people in some fashion.

We should do likewise, and, in fact, we are commanded to.

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
James 2:1-4, ESV

Our Great God, thank You for Your love and grace. Help us to live out that love and grace with all people, regardless of wealth or social standing. Help us to love everyone as You have loved us through the cross.


Hear the Poor

Proverbs 21:13.

“Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.”

Youth Serve at Union Gospel Mission:

One of the privileges that I have as a pastor is being able to work with the youth group in our church. I have always loved working with teenagers, and love their passion for life. A couple of weeks ago, we took a team of youth from our small town of Beausejour, to serve at Union Gospel Mission, a street outreach in Winnipeg.

It was Matthew 25:40 in action: Jesus said: “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” I was so blessed to see a group of teenagers taking their Saturday night and – instead of staying home and playing video games or watching TV – they came to serve. And serve they did! They washed chairs in their chapel in preparation for their evening service, cleaned windows, worked in the kitchen, mopped floors, and greeted street people at the door as they came in for their meal. I was so proud of our amazing team!

Our youth at Union Gospel Mission in Winnipeg, MB

Our youth at Union Gospel Mission in Winnipeg, MB

God Loves the Poor:

Many people wonder why our young people would give up their Saturday night to go and serve the homeless, and the answer is simple: God loves the poor! There are so many Scriptures that reveal to us God’s heart for the poor, the lonely, the orphans and widows, and the strangers:

  • Leviticus 19:10: “And you shall not glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather every grape of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the stranger.”
  • Deut. 15:7: “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren… you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother.”
  • Psalm 41:1: “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.”
  • Psalm 82:4: “Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.”
  • Gal. 2:10: “They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do.”

Don’t Ignore the Poor:

In today’s Scripture, Solomon says, “Those who shut their ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in their own time of need.” (NLT). This is echoed in another Proverb: “He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.” (19:17).

God loves the poor. But some would say, “Aha! If there is a God, and He is all-powerful and all-loving, then why are there so many needy people in the world?” The answer to that is simple. As Christians, we are called to be God’s hands and feet in the world. If the poor aren’t being helped, it’s because we aren’t doing our part in reaching them with the love of God. Let’s hear the poor!


Help the Poor

Proverbs 19:17

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.” (KJV).

Help the Poor:

The first thing we see here is that God wants us to help the poor. Jesus said, “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good.” (Mark 14:7). But who are the poor, and what does it mean to help the poor?

In his book, The Power of Generosity, Dave Toycen (President of World Vision Canada) writes: “Living in the twenty-first century offers tremendous opportunities to those who have, but for the three billion people of the world living on less than two dollars a day it’s a crushing existence of grinding poverty, despair, and unremitting daily challenges.”

In the Western World (those of you reading in Canada, the United States, England, etc), none of us think that we’re rich, but the truth is, we are. If you have food in your refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world. That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it? I have been on several missions trips to countries like Mexico and Costa Rica, and I can testify to the fact that we really do have it good.

To those of you reading this blog post today: We are the rich, and God has called us to help the poor. What does that look like? It could be as simple as giving money to a family that you know that is struggling financially, taking a homeless person for lunch, or giving money to mission works in third world countries.

Lend to the Lord and He Will Repay:

The Lord gives us a wonderful promise in this Proverb. When we give to the poor, we are actually lending to the Lord! This was echoed by Jesus in Matthew 25:34-40:

“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me… inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” 

When we help the poor, we are lending to the Lord, and when we lend to the Lord, He will repay us. We will reap what we sow. When we care for those that God cares about, He takes care of our needs, too. So trust Him today, and look for ways to help the poor around you. Amen!

Lord, we have so much, but we are often selfish and unthankful people. Open our eyes to the poor and needy around us, so we can help them with your love. In Jesus’ name, amen.