“He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honours Him has mercy on the needy.” Proverbs 14:31
Our lessons this quarter are based on Jesus’ words, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” Matthew 25:40
This week we seek to understand from God’s Word why we are to help those who are in need.
- We do it because God is our Creator.
Creation is absolutely foundational to Christianity. When time began, God made the universe out of nothing. He then created planet earth, the light givers, vegetation and animals and finally, man and woman as His crowning act of creation. They are made in His own image. The Godlikeness of mankind is seen in the fact that they are rational and moral beings (able to understand and respond to God’s commands), responsible beings (given dominion over nature), social beings (with the capacity to love and be loved) and spiritual beings (finding their fulfilment in knowing and worshipping their Creator). They walked and talked with God. This gave them their worth and dignity.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”…So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them…Genesis 1:26-28
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth…for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Acts 17:26, 28
- If He is our Creator, then every human being is my brother and sister.
Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Malachi 1:10
Do you thus deal with the LORD, o foolish and unwise people? Is He not your Father, who bought you? Has He not made you and established you? Deuteronomy 32:6
‘Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine…’ Ezekiel 18:4
- The Fall
The Fall is the greatest tragedy that befell mankind. Made by God, and like God, man chose to live without God. Man’s responsibility and stewardship of nature became selfish; his relationship to his fellow beings was skewed, both within and beyond the family. Our self-centredness makes us hostile to the God of love, and we are rightly under the condemnation of God
Your iniquities have separated you from God…Isaiah 59:2
- The Fall has not changed God’s attitude to us; it should not change our attitude to others – we are all sinners saved by grace.
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:4-6
- God has provided redemption and salvation as a remedy to the sin problem; when we accept the gospel and receive the heart and mind of Christ, we shall treat every human being as God treats us.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…” Isaiah 61:1
For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 10:17-19
“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?” Isaiah 58:6, 7
And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
But God will never forget the needy; the hope of the afflicted will never perish. Psalm 9: 17-18
“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.” Psalm 12:5
My whole being will exclaim, “Who is like you, Lord? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.” Psalm 35:10
I know that the Lord secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy. Psalm 140:12
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. Proverbs 19:17
The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. Proverbs 22:9
Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. Pro 28:27
For he will deliver the needy who cry out; the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight. Psalm 72:12-14
Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. Psalm 146:5-9
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17
Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless. What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Isaiah 10:1-3
If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18