God Pleads The Case Of The Poor

Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord will plead their cause and plunder the soul of those who plunder them. (Proverbs 22:22-23)

God Pleads The Case Of The Poor

There has always been injustice in the world since sin began to dominate the hearts of men. The persecuted come from the ranks of the feeble, helpless, and poor among humanity. They are defenseless against the bullies of the world who seek to abuse them, take their possessions, and use them for their own gain. Poor people are abundant in the world. Because of circumstances often beyond their control, they cannot rise above their station in life. A cycle of continual misery accompanies their meager existence as they try to live above the poverty level.

God has always been mindful of the unfortunate. Under the Law of Moses, the corners of the fields were not to be harvested. The Lord forbade harvesting the grain along the edges of the field. Whatever the harvesters dropped was to be left for the poor. This was also the case with the harvest of grapes. The people were not to strip all the grapes from the vines nor pick up the grapes that fell to the ground. They were to be left to the poor and the foreigners living among them. This was a command with as much force as not to kill or commit adultery. God’s law prohibited the abuse and neglect of the poor.

A stern warning is given in the wisdom literature concerning the abuse of the poor. Taking advantage of the poor because he is impoverished is a sin. Robbing the poor because he is poor is an abomination before the Lord. All men were created in the image of God and bear His mark. Robbing the poor is robbing God. Mistreating another human being based on economic status is mistreating the creation of God. Courts of law were often held at the city gates, and another stern warning was given against the miscarriage of justice against the poor. Powerful men could easily abuse a man of lowly rank who has not have the means or funds to defend himself. Abuse of the poor was common in the courts of men. Without a proper defense, there was nothing the poor could do.

The nation of Israel represented the family of God’s people. They lived under the Law of Moses, which protected the poor against maltreatment. The wisdom literature was written for the people of God to treat the poor with respect and honor. God warned His people against the abuse of the poor and offered hope for those treated poorly. A court of law may rule against the poor man and take away all his possessions, but a day will come with God will settle all accounts. The men who testified against Naboth so that Ahab could steal his land were innocent in the courts of men, but when they died, they stood before the One who knew all they did. The Lord pleaded the case of Naboth, and the false witnesses, Ahab and Jezebel, all received their reward for abusing the poor.

When men plunder the goods of the poor in this life, they find that God will plunder their souls in judgment. Nothing escapes the eyes of the Lord. The poor can suffer in this life and find joy in the life to come. Those who oppress the poor now will enjoy the bounty of their possessions and then face the wrath of God in judgment. The lesson of accountability is to show love and compassion to the oppressed because eternity depends on it. Jesus told about the gathering of all humanity before the throne of God was likened to separating the sheep from the goats. The basis of this judgment was how the child of God treated others. If the heart showed benevolence, the soul was rewarded. When the heart showed cruelty and neglect to the unfortunate, they were cast into the everlasting fire with the devil and his angels. God looks after the poor. Mistreat the poor, and you will have God to deal with.

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