Friday, February 3, 2012

What Does the Bible Say About the Poor?

The longer I read and study the Hebrew Old Testament and Christian Scriptures, the more I am convinced that government of all forms, which disregard the poor, (by negligently creating an environment for their poverty), will be cursed. But why, would this emeritus Christian pastor, make such a statement?

Throughout the Bible’s many compiled books, we are continually presented the Creator’s thoughts regarding the poor. “Poor” to the Creator, does not translate into what some United States' citizens, would term, as the “lazy welfare recipient.” The poor, as portrayed in Holy Scripture (apart from the “’spiritually’ poor,”) are those, who, for various reasons, are less financially well to do, and, who are often persecuted and taken advantage of, by those people, who often are in political power, and, who, are much more financially endowed. These same people (who are financially well to do) are often leaders in the culture, be it in business or government. It is their political influence which often creates an unhealthy economic environment, in which the poor suffer and become more monetarily strapped.

Now, please hear me carefully. I am not at all saying that free enterprise (capitalism) is to be discouraged by government policy. Christ's Parable of the Pounds," [Matthew 25:14-30] and Scripture throughout, illustrate that the Triune God expects his creation to be industrious. The very first command given to mankind was, "be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth." Genesis 1:28

The book of Proverbs relates how the wise are to be like the common ground ant, hard-working and preparing for the future. Laziness, idleness and slothfulness are contrasted with diligence and productivity. Proverbs 6:6-11

Often, politicians will confuse and misconstrue the proper role of government in fostering a helpful environment where business, employment and the work ethic can flourish. This past week the (putative) "president" of the United States again spoke before thinking. His remarks illustrate government's unhealthy and destructive role, punishing the rich, and thereby (financially) hurting the poor. Using the National Prayer Breakfast as his political campaign platform, Barack Obama misinterpreted Holy Scripture.

Following, is what Christian pastor Michael Youseff correctly related concerning the (putative) "president's" remarks:

........Well, he did it again at the National Prayer Breakfast. I never understood that name since very little prayer, if any, takes place. Instead, perhaps it should be called the National Breakfast Gathering.

The president quoted the Bible to justify punishing those who have worked hard, and most of whom are very generous givers, in order to take their money and give it to many of his constituencies who are always standing outside the doors of the White House with out-stretched hands.

Mr. Obama, in justifying his misguided policy, quoted Jesus in Luke 12:48: 
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.”

No, you do not have to have a seminary degree to know that Jesus is talking about individual stewardship in an individual’s relationship with God.

For it is God who gives each person different portions of gifts, talents, and treasure to manage according to His sovereign will. It is God who entrusts people with what they have, not the government.

God is the One who will judge the faithfulness of each individual’s stewardship and blessing, or lack thereof. In Luke 12:48, Jesus, God the Son, is exhorting individuals to be faithful and give generously without regret.

Understanding this, one has to wonder if Mr. Obama has replaced God with his administration. He must believe that when he says “much is given,” he refers to what is given by the government, and “much is demanded,” as that which is demanded by the government. This is 180° opposite to the truth.......

"President Obama and the Bible:" -

In my country

In my country, umpteen (political) city halls express in attitude, agenda and present practice, local resident taxpayer strangulation. Flowing from city hall politics, (elected and appointed politicians and special interest personalities), there is a steady stream of action which result with little regard, (or, with an open ear), for genuine input (feedback) from bread and butter taxpayers who fund these same local politicians’ livelihoods.

This type of local political oppression (multiplied hundreds of times over, throughout the United States) is severely felt and experienced in a number of ways – but especially among the less financially endowed – among whom are many senior citizens; the disabled; and those on fixed incomes – the (financially) poor. Added to this sad mix are unions who force their wills and fattened financial package agendas upon taxpayers because elected government representatives (politicians) are easily swayed by their powerful special interests. They easily overlook and often forget the rank-in-file overburdened taxpayers who voted them into political office.

Then, there are the various state governments, which add to the financial burden of rank-in-file taxpayers, among whom are the financially poor. Add, to state government overspending and tax strangulation is the federal (national) United State government with the ever increasing trillions of dollar debt, unrestrained entitlement programs, exorbitant wages, benefits and retirement pay for federal employees and politicians. That's not even counting the wasted monies which are spend on political pet projects (earmarks) and oodles of taxpayer monies spent attempting, to (needlessly) police the world.

Also, government, and club type (forceful) unions, often have the nasty habit of interfering with the God blessed work ethic by initiating excessive burdensome taxes and business / work regulations.

Having stated the above, here (following) are some Scriptures regarding the poor and their “treatment.” Mind, you, these Biblical passages are not referring to those who deliberately make themselves financially poor when they gamble away their livelihoods and fritter away their financial resources through unhealthy sinful lifestyles and ignorant or willful poor decision making.

Scripture references the poor throughout its pages

With one of my Scriptural concordances, I was able to list close to 200 verses, with the one word, “poor,” common to all those verses. For the remainder of this Sunday’s topical message, my words will be fewer, as I will provide some of those Scriptures which speak about the poor – including God’s specific words of condemnation to those who oppress not only the poor, but the afflicted and needy.

God’s view on the oppression of the poor:

Deuteronomy 15:7 ; Deuteronomy 24:14 ; 2nd Samuel 12:1-15 ; Proverbs 28:27 ; Job 24:4 ; Job 24:14 ; Psalm 72:4 ; Ezekiel 16:49 ; Ezekiel 18:12 ; Ezekiel 18:17 ; Ezekiel 22:29 ; Daniel 4:27 ; Amos 2:6 ; Amos 4:1 ; Amos 5:11 ; Amos 5:12 ; Amos 8:4 ; Habakkuk 3:14 ; Zechariah 7:10 ; Luke 14:21 ; James 2:6

God’s descriptions of those people who oppress the poor

Psalm 37:14 ; Psalm 10:1f ; Proverbs 28:15 ; Proverbs 29:7 ; Isaiah 10:2

God's judgment of those who oppress the poor

Psalm 72:4 ; Proverbs 17:5 ; Proverbs 21:13 ; Proverbs 22:16 ; Proverbs 28:27 ; Isaiah 3:14 ; Amos 5:11

God's call to help the poor and needy

Proverbs 31:9 ; Isaiah 58:7; Mark 10:21; Luke 14:13 ; Luke 18:22 ; Galatians 2:10

God blesses those who regard the poor

Proverbs 28:27 ; Isaiah 58:10-11 ; Luke 18:22 ; Luke 19:1-10

God's deliverance of the poor, needy and afflicted

Psalm 14:6 ; Psalm 35:10 ; Psalm 72:12 ; Psalm 140:12 ; Isaiah 11:4 ; Isaiah 41:17 ; Jeremiah 20:13

How people treat the poor is a very good indicator of their spiritual condition

Based upon the following Scriptures, it is not difficult to judge a person’s spiritual character and status based upon how that particular person treats the poor. The Scripture calls those “wicked” who mistreat the poor. [Psalm 101f ; Psalm 37:14 and Proverbs 29:7] Just as a person’s treatment of animals is an indication of character, so is a person’s treatment of the poor, an accurate barometer of one’s true character. Proverbs 12:10

Creator God has higher standards for those in authority and those who are financially gifted. God expects more from whom He has blessed with much. Those well to do and those politically influential have God directed obligations to be fair and just. To do otherwise is to commit acts of thievery upon others. Please review the article: “Political Extortion”

The Lord Christ became "poor" that all might become spiritually rich

The Christian New Testament Epistle of 2 Corinthians 8:9 says this of Christ:

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. " - 2 Corinthians 8:9 [ESV]

Creator Christ humbled Himself and was born into human history to accomplish the necessary sacrifice pleasing to God in order to lift God’s eternal judgment upon human sin. Only through this Savior and one true God, [Acts 4:10-12] can a person find genuine comfort and hope for the forgiveness of personal sin – including the oppression of the poor. Acts 3:18-21

May God grant faith and repentance [Luke 18:9-14] to politicians and various influential special interest personalities -- and, to all, who are guilty of the sin of oppressing the poor. [Isaiah55:6-8] May they be granted the grace to accept and receive Christ’s eternal forgiveness and to repent of their sins. [Luke 19:1-10] May this be the same reality also to all of us who hear and read this message. Acts 17:16-31


Above Message and Related Scriptures [below] -- Intended to be utilized in a simple worship format:

Also: For a couple of other (more formal) worship formats:
The Order of Morning Service
The Order of Matins

Related Scriptures To the Above Message

Job 1:1f-2:1f - The physical and financial poverty of Job

2 Samuel 9:1-13 - King David's kindness to disabled, Mephibosheth

Being, bereft of a father or a husband, is a type of poverty:

James 1:27 - "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction,and to keep himself unspotted from the world." [KJV]

Note, also: Acts 6:1

Of Whom Does the Prophet Speak" -- by Victor Buksbazen -- Isaiah 53:1-12 -- an in-depth view of and the prophecy of Christ, hundred of years before his birth. Isaiah 53:1-12 underscores the truthfulness of Divine Revelation as exemplified in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

Please note: Topical Messages, by subject

Pastor (emeritus) Nathan Bickel

Please also note:

The "Words in Season" topical messages and related worship format are not intended to discourage or replace the Christian worship and assembly of Christians at their particular places of church worship. As this website's author, it is my prayer and hope, that many souls will find the topical messages, related worship format and other material, a useful and valuable Christian resource.

The Christian Faith: Parts 1-3
2 -- How the saving (believing) process of the Christian Faith takes place
3 -- What are the tell-tale signs that a person has been “Saved” [is a Christian]

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