The Poor

Last night our church had a last minute prayer and worship meeting for the people of Haiti. There's so many facebook messages, tweets, emails, etc. going around for Haiti. I think that now more than ever we are concerned about the well-being of those less fortunate than us (sort of). At least in my little bubble I feel that way, not necessarily a country as a whole.

Last night we just wanted to pray and worship God on behalf of Haiti. We believe and know that Gods heart is for the brokenhearted and the poor, and a lot of times we need people to intercede on behalf of us when we are in those situations. Our hearts broke as we prayed, but I also believe that because of our prayers, God is going to do miracles among these people this very minute.

All over scripture God refers to the brokenhearted, the poor, the fatherless, the widows. It was no surprise to me that this morning I read, yet again, about the poor, and what we are to do as a blessed nation and a people belonging to God.

If you look at Deuteronomy 15: 7-11, Moses shares with the Children of Israel how they are to handle the poor. Verse 4 says this:
However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you
Wait, there should be no poor among them? Can you imagine America without any homeless? I can't. Why shouldn't there have been any poor when the Israelites enter the promised land? Because God was going to richly bless them, if they were obedient.

Obedient, how? By being openhanded and freely lend to the poor whatever they need. They were to be careful not to be hardhearted and tightfisted. They were to give them what they needed, knowing that they wouldn't be paid back.

Idealistically there was the possibility that poverty would be eradicated in the Land(Canaan) "for the Lord would bless them in this Land." The fullness of this blessing, however, is based on Israel's obedience. Verses 4-6 are an encouragement to strive for reduction of poverty.

If you hop on over to Verse 11, it says "There will always be poor among you. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in you land."
Realistically, the disobedience toward the Lord on Israel's part meant that there would always be poor people in the Land. So.. there were poor because of Israel's disobedience? Yikes!

I'm curious to know how you think this relates to us.. now.. America? How do you handle a statement like this? Do we have tons of poor people because of our tons of disobedience? I'd love to hear your thoughts…...

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