of No Poor. The next passage in the Mosaic Law that is concerned
with the poor and needy is Deuteronomy 15:4-5.
However, there will be no poor among you, since the
LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving
you as an inheritance to possess, if only you listen obediently to the
voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment
which I am commanding you today. Deut. 15:4-6 (NASB)
In this passage, God promises that there will not be any poor among
them if they obey Him. But they didn’t and couldn’t since
they were sinners. God simply told them that it was theoretically possible
to not have any poor. He was honest and forthright. This reminds us of
Jesus’ statement that we will always have the poor among us in
Mark 14:7. His message was that men and women can never satisfy the requirement
of Deut. 15:4-6. And God makes that clear in Deut. 15:11 when He said
that the poor would never “cease.” The message is clear.
There will always be needy and poor folks due to poor planning, events
beyond one’s control, or for some other reason.
Help Without Regret. In Deut. 15:7-8 we
hear that God instructed the Israelites to freely give to the poor.
If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers,
in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you,
you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother;
but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend
him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. Deut. 15:7-8 (NASB)
Maybe the most significant phrase in this passage is “not harden
your heart” and the most significant word is “harden.” Clearly
the Israelites were told to help the poor, but they were also told not
to harden their hearts. The Hebrew word for harden is AMES. It means
to make “hard, strong, bold, or to be solid.” It has the
idea that the person will not budge or cannot be moved. The Israelites
were also told to “freely open their hand” and to be “generous” to
sufficiently meet their need.
God Is Our Example. In Deut. 10:18; Ps.
40:17; 68:5 and Jer. 22:16, God presents Himself as the defender of the
poor and the One who meets their needs. Then He challenges us to do the
same because he also works through us. Here are a few verses,
He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and
shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing. So show
your love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt. Deut.
The LORD protects the strangers;
He supports the fatherless and the widow,
But He thwarts the way of the wicked. Ps. 146:9 (NASB)
He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; then it
was well. Is not that what it means to know Me?” declares the LORD.
Jer. 22:16 (NASB)
In the last verse, God tells us that those who truly know
Him will care for the poor. That is a strong statement.
Protector of the Poor. In 1 Samuel 2:8
God states that He lifts up the needy and the poor.
He raises the poor from the dust,
He lifts the needy from the ash heap. 1 Sam. 2:8 (NASB)
The same thought is repeated in Psalm 35:10. In Psalm 72:12-14 God says
that He will respond to those who ask for help, and in Psalm 12:5 God
states that He responds to the groaning of the needy. The message is
that God is sensitive to the needy - to their emotional pain and pleas
Provider of the Poor. In Psalm 68:10;
146:7 and Isaiah 41:17, we are told that God helps the needy and the
prisoners. He gives food, water, and ensures that justice is satisfied.
Who executes justice for the oppressed;
Who gives food to the hungry.
The LORD sets the prisoners free. Ps. 146:7 (NASB)
The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there
And their tongue is parched with thirst;
I, the LORD, will answer them Myself,
As the God of Israel I will not forsake them. Is. 41:17 (NASB)
Here God states that He is the one who personally helps
the poor. If God helps the poor, then it is a special honor for us to
care for the poor and needy.
Savior of the Poor. In Job 5:15; Psalm
34:6 and Ps. 109:31, we discover that God rescues the needy and poor.
He saves them from oppressors.
This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles. Ps. 34:6 (NASB)
God is their savior from evil, uncaring men and women.
Refuge for the Poor. In Ps. 14:6 and
Isa. 25:4 we discover that God defends the helpless and the needy from
people, distress, the weather, and the ruthless.
For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless
Is like a rain storm against a wall. Is. 25:4 (NASB)
While it is obvious that some needy and helpless do suffer, it is God
who is at work to provide help. He does this through people and circumstances.
It is His people who are to be His hands and His feet. It is His people
who provide the hugs and expression of warmth and compassion. The truth
is, few of the needy and helpless would be helped if it were not for
God’s instruction and the movement of the Holy Spirit in the hearts
of people - believer and unbeliever.
In summary, God cares for the poor and needy whether they
are dirty, dingy or desperate. God is their protector, provider, savior
and their place of refuge. He is our example. What an honor to mirror
our Father’s example and have a heart like His.
Promises To Those Who Help The Poor. In
the following verses we will discover that God repeatedly promises to
help those who join the Lord in helping the poor. How many promises you
How blessed is he who considers the helpless;
The LORD will deliver him in a day of trouble.
The LORD will protect him and keep him alive,
And he shall be called blessed upon the earth;
And do not give him over to the desire of his enemies.
The LORD will sustain him upon his sickbed;
In his illness, You restore him to health. Ps. 41:1-3 (NASB)
How blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
Who greatly delights in His commandments.
. . .
He has given freely to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever;
His horn will be exalted in honor. Ps. 112:1, 9 (NASB)
He who despises his neighbor sins,
But happy is he who is gracious to the poor. Prov. 14:21 (NASB)
He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker,
But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. Prov. 14:31
One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the LORD,
And He will repay him for his good deed. Prov. 19:17 (NASB)
He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor. Prov. 22:9 (NASB)
He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses. Prov. 28:27
The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor,
The wicked does not understand such concern. Prov. 29:7