November 15, 2010

If You Obey, There Should Be No Poor

Deuteronomy 15:1-6

There need be no poor people among you … if only you fully obey the LORD your God …
Deuteronomy 15:4-5


If we look at many of the laws of God’s covenant with Israel, we can see why there was no reason for anyone in their society to be without the basic needs of life. There were laws about gleaning, laws about interest charges, laws about caring for widows and orphans, laws about restitution of property, laws about debt repayment, and much more. In fact, a high percentage of the covenant laws are about economic matters.

The Lord’s covenant established a society that showed both its own citizens and other nations that God was at its center. For example, many covenant laws addressed idolatry and worship. But dozens of laws also showed that God was present among his people when they honored and cared for the poor among them.

God’s covenant laws regarding poverty are so extensive that obedience to them would eventually root out poverty. Wow! What a society that would be! What if our society followed such laws? Wouldn’t other nations think our way of ordering society was best? As many have observed, justice is seen in the way a nation treats its weakest members.

Alleviating and averting poverty is a bright signal that God’s justice is at work. Are you working for justice?

Lord, help us to love and do justice. Help us to pay attention to your will in economic matters. May there be no poor among us. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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