I know that the Lord maintains the cause of the needy, and executes justice for the poor. Psalm 140:12

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Luke 6:20

It is interesting to look at the ways people that are experiencing poverty are regarded. Our society often dismisses them as people that aren’t willing to work hard, or as people different from those that have more. After all, if they were good people and worked hard, they would not be poor. That is obviously not true. Some have even looked at Bible verses as saying that those who are rich deserve it – the Prosperity gospel. Thus those who are poor must also deserve their lot in life.

The verses we read today, along with many others, challenge that interpretation. . The needy and the poor are often written about in the Bible as those that God cares for deeply. Jesus says that the poor are blessed, which can be a bit hard to understand. To us, they certainly don’t look blessed. However, they are in the sense that God cares deeply for us all, and wants us to be happy. Our job is to care for those in need, and work to eliminate injustice in our world.

In Psalm 140 the psalmist is expressing his confident belief that the Lord would maintain “his” cause and is defending “him.” Then he makes this statement and belief more general. The implication is that the God who has helped him (David) will also help others in similar circumstances. God is seen to be on the side of the oppressed, the afflicted and those who have been wronged. To quote one commentator “He has no attribute that can take part with an oppressor or wrong doer. The righteous – oppressed – afflicted can come to Him with the belief that He will be on their side. “

Compassionate Lord, you have instructed us to care for the poor. Jesus came for those who were poor, powerless and vulnerable. Realign our perspectives to the reality of our world. Teach us to embrace what you value and become your followers. So that true justice reigns and gives hope to the lost. We pray for your assistance in our daily efforts to overcome spiritual poverty.  Amen.

Chris Gabel