Thursday, August 18, 2011

God's Word Concerning the Poor Among Us

The streets of Minneapolis have changed dramatically in the last six months—people are in deep financial trouble.  In the last two weeks, I have had four people walk into my office and ask for a job. Some ask to the point of begging. I know their stories since all were past tenants or employees.

In my preaching and visiting with people about this, I found most unresponsive towards the poor. We’re unconcerned and damn glad it isn’t us. As “rich” people, we better be concerned for our lot could change quickly. We must be thankful for every little freedom, grace, provision, and protection we have. We need to be humbly grateful for “life, breath, and everything else.” Acts 17:25: “And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else."

Here are some scriptures of hope for the poor, the soon to be poor and the rich. In these days be encouraged and challenged by God’s promises.

Psalm 9:10“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”  Note promise and condition

Psalm 9:18: “But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish.”

Deuteronomy 15:7-11: "If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land."

Deuteronomy 28:47-48: "Because you did not serve the LORD your God joyfully and gladly in the time of prosperity, therefore in hunger and thirst, in nakedness and dire poverty, you will serve the enemies the LORD sends against you. He will put an iron yoke on your neck until he has destroyed you."

Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 14:12-14: "Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

1 Corinthians 13:3: "If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

2 Corinthians 8:9: "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 through his poverty might become rich."

Enough said...

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