Poor People (Part 20)
Because I delivered the poor who cried for help,
And the orphan who had no helper.
The blessing of the one ready to perish came upon me,
And I made the widow's heart sing for joy.
I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;
My justice was like a robe and a turban.
I was eyes to the blind
And feet to the lame.
I was a father to the needy...
Job 29:12-16 (NASB)
An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels... She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31:10 (NASB)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives,
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set free those who are oppressed.
Luke 4:18 (NASB)
How we treat poor people reveals our character. Job's compassion evidenced his integrity. A wife's generosity evidenced her worth. Christ's humility evidenced His godliness.
David's adultery evidenced corruption. God compared his actions to robbing a poor man. 'There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb which he bought and nourished' (2 Samuel 12:1-3). The poor man was Uriah and David stole his wife.
Nebuchadnezzar's pride evidenced unfairness. As king of Babylon and master of Daniel, he was about to suffer seven years of madness. But Daniel spoke one possible means of relief: 'Therefore, O king... break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, in case there may be a prolonging of your prosperity' (Daniel 4:27).
Both kings were punished for their treatment of the poor. Both repented and God restored them to greatness.
The King of kings exampled our priorities. Therefore, when considering someone's character, we should not look at his smile, but witness his fruit.* Especially this one: his kindness to the poor.
To Be Continued...
* 'But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law' (Galatians 5:22-23).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Poor People series.