by Pastor Stephen Abraham
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You have burned the vineyard. Your houses are full of what you took from the poor. What gives you the right to crush my people and grind the faces of the poor into the dirt? (Isaiah 3:14b,15a)
Think about a great dynasty or a powerful government – seemingly invincible, indestructible and unassailable. Imagine it, if you will, and then imagine what could take it down. What could defeat such a thing? A giant movie monster? An asteroid impact? Surely it would be the mightiest of armies or an all-powerful weapon! It would have to be something so important, so vital, that without it, the government would disintegrate. What is it?
What will bring down Judah? It is how its government has treated the less fortunate. How it failed in is care for the poor.
You see, one of the hallmarks of God’s people of old was to be their care for those less fortunate. This is outlined in detail in Israel’s founding legal/religious documents – the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).
God’s people were to:
- look out for the welfare of widows and orphans (Exodus 22:22)
- make sure they had legal representation and weren’t taken advantage of (Exodus 23:6)
- give them access to free produce/sustenance/welfare (Exodus 23:11, Leviticus 23:22, Deuteronomy 14:28,29)
- be generous to them (Deuteronomy 15:7)
- work towards no person being in poverty (Deuteronomy 15:4).
There are so many verses about caring for the less fortunate in the Old Testament that I can only list a fraction of them all here (there are maybe up to 100 – google it yourself!).
This is how much the less fortunate matter to God!
So if the government does the opposite and intentionally robs and grinds down the poor, well, Isaiah prophecies that it is game over for them! Boom!
How, then, do we apply this? I think what we get from Scripture is that care for the less fortunate is important from the macro-level of governance, down to smaller levels/organisations, and then to us personally on a day-to-day level.
Is this happening in our schools, organisations and churches? What programs do we have to help those less fortunate, both inside and outside of our communities? Do we need to repent and start over?
My friends, God’s generosity to us shows no bounds. It’s time we reflected that!
Almighty Father, you are so incredibly generous to us. Every breath we take is a gift from you. Thank you for your kindness. For where we fail to reflect that kindness, Lord, we are sorry. Lord Jesus, free us from our sin. Holy Spirit, inspire us and lead us into new ways of caring for the less fortunate. Amen.