Tuesday, June 24, 2014

365 Days with God - Day 172: Elevating the Poor

I'm giving myself a challenge. Read the Bible each day for a whole year, following the ESV Study Guide 1-year plan. Each day, I will post whatever God has revealed to me in His Word, and how it is changing me. A friend of mine once said that nothing has changed her life as much as reading the bible each day - and I'm excited for how this will change me. Join me on an adventure into the heart of God - and day by day, we can learn more about who He is and what that means to us!

- Andy Catts

Day 171, June 23, 2014
Readings: Proverbs 21, Proverbs 22, Deuteronomy 23:1-14, Amos 7, Amos 8, Matthew 4:12-25

Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
saying, "When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?" (Amos 8:4-6)

Do we love our fellow man? Do we care about them the way Jesus does? Are we eager to see their best realized? (Note, their best does not necessarily equal their most profitable...)

Time and time again, throughout the scriptures, it is evident that God cares about those in need. Every prophet testifying against Israel mentions their abandoning of the poor, their lack of concern for those in need, and their selfishness. But God is not talking about mere social justice here. The prophets cry out against the exploitation of the poor. And I think we see a lot of that today, thinly veiled in "good deeds."

I don't want this post to become terribly political. But I do want to encourage God's heart for humanity. And through the prophet Amos, he is challenging us to take stock of how we care for those in need. Do we treat them as second class citizens? Do we take advantage of them to further our own agenda? Are the "solutions" we put forth really for their best, or does it just sound good so that we get more votes?

I believe our nation is in a place where we must examine our principles, our purpose as we move forward. What are we motivated by? Where will this end up? Does it just sound good, or will it actually result in the needy being elevated, educated, and free? The challenge of being poor is not lacking wealth. The challenge of being poor is lacking options. Money, knowledge and connections give you options when you are in trouble. When we talk about helping the needy, we need to give them options. Give them freedom. Give them Jesus.

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