Who Cares for the Poor?

Key Verse: “He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD ; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”
—Proverbs 19:17

Lesson Scriptures: Proverbs 19:17;
22:1-4, 8, 9, 16, 22, 23; 23:10, 11

THOSE WHO ARE POOR can be divided into two categories. First, there are those who are poor as regards the fleshly needs of this life. Second, there are the poor or humble in spirit, regardless of their material wealth or lack thereof. These are those who realize their undone condition before God and have a sincere desire to be brought into his favor. It is to this latter class that our lesson primarily relates. Although it is certainly to our credit to help the materially poor to the extent of our ability, we realize according to Jesus’ words that “The poor always ye have with you.” (John 12:8) The time for dealing with those of meager means, both who have lived in the past, and in the present, will be the coming righteous kingdom of Christ. In the meantime, we have the privilege of seeking and helping those who are the poor in spirit. “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”—Matt. 5:3

The Key Verse points out that those who are engaged in seeking after and helping the poor, or humble, of heart, are in reality helping their own standing before God and will be rewarded according to their deeds. This should be natural for the child of God, for we all were once alienated from his favor due to our inherited sinful condition. It is reasonable for us to desire to help others, remembering our own previous undone condition, and that we are still the product of God’s great mercy and grace. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”—Eph. 2:8

In reality, true riches do not come from the material things of this world. Proverbs 22:1 and 4 state, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. … By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” The ‘good name’ and ‘favour’ spoken of in verse one is not that which comes from man, but that which is from God. We are to seek his favor, and to have a good name in his eyes. In these we will have something far better than silver or gold, which perish. We will instead have laid up for ourselves “treasures in heaven,” eternal riches. (See Matt. 6:19-21) He has shown his great love for all without respect to their riches, or lack thereof, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) He has also assured us that in due time “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.”—Acts 24:15

Proverbs 22:9 of our lesson reminds us to be generous, to share our bread with others. Bread is a symbol of Truth, and we are to tell it to others freely. To withhold generosity and keep this spiritual food for ourselves only, or to just share it with others already rich in God’s sight, would be considered robbery. (See verses 16,22,23) Rather, let us follow the example of Proverbs 11:25, “The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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