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  1. #1
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    the bible and the poor

    http://www.zompist.com/meetthepoor.html

    The Bible on the Poor
    or, Why God is a "liberal"

    The Bible contains more than 300 verses on the poor, social justice, and God's deep concern for both. This page contains a wide sample of them, and some reflections. It's aimed at anyone who takes the Bible seriously.
    As you read these passages, you will very likely feel a good deal of resistance (possibly at first manifesting itself as indifference). American churches have departed strongly from Biblical values in these areas, and even created a rationalization-- "prosperity theology"-- for rejecting them. It takes time and reflection to get past this misteaching.

    But try to get past the resistance. Spiritual growth doesn't come from what goes down easily, or what we like to hear and read. It comes from what's different, and even difficult.

    This page can easily be used as the basis for a Bible study. I tried writing it like one, but ultimately decided that web pages just don't work that way. It makes a smashing good one, though; if you want to try, replace the commentary with questions. The best questions to ask are those without a fixed answer (e.g. "Why does Jesus say this?" or "What did you learn from these verses?").

    --M.R.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    God's concern for the poor
    In this section we are not yet concerned with what the believer should think or do for the poor, but with God's thoughts. Though we often forget poverty and oppression, it is clear from the Bible that they are always on God's mind.
    Deut. 26:5-9. The Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us. Then we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders; and He has brought us to... this land flowing with milk and honey.
    Luke 4:16-21. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read... "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He appointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD... Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

    Ps. 140:12. I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.

    Is. 25:4. For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress.

    Ps. 10:14. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan... O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed.

    Is 41:17. The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them Myself, as the God of Israel I will not forsake them.

    Luke 6:20-21. Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

    James 2:5. Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

    Commentary: I think it's fair to say that American attitudes toward the poor-- and perhaps not just in America-- are mostly disdain and fear. They're dangerous and different. Sometimes there's a suspicion that their condition is their own fault, that they're simply lazy or inferior. Other Americans are more kind-hearted, but prefer not to look at the poor too closely; it's depressing, and they're surely not fun people to be with.
    These attitudes are a world away from God's attitudes, as described in these verses. Neediness arouses compassion in God-- and action.

    We may think: "Of course God loves the poor; he loves everybody." But it's not so simple as that; God's character is presented as a model for our own. If God values the poor, we have to think about what that means for us.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    God's commands concerning the poor
    This section collects some specific commands from Old and New Testaments on serving the poor.
    Deut. 15:7. If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.
    Deut. 26:12. When you have finished paying the complete tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied.

    Lev. 19:19ff. Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.

    Prov. 31:8ff. [Commandment to kings.] Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

    Is. 58:66ff. Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

    Jer. 22:3. Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

    Luke 12:33. "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys."

    Luke 3:11. And [John the Baptist] would answer and say to them, "Let the man with two tunics share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise."

    Mt. 5:42. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

    Commentary: The message here is really very simple: help the needy. It's not hard to understand; it's just hard to do.
    And the message is continuous. It's in the Torah; it's in the Prophets and Psalms; it's in the Gospels; it's in the Epistles. How many churches emphasize serving the poor as much as the Bible itself does? Would the world look the way it does if all believers followed these commands?

    Another thing to note about these verses is the lack of caveats-- the lack of excuses. None of them add "...once a year" or "...when you feel you can" or "...if they're moral" or "...unless they're black" or "...if they speak English". We have plenty of reasons (I'm sure you can think of a dozen) why we can't go out and feed the hungry, why we have to turn away the needy borrower-- and God help us, how many of us have sold so much as a lawnmower in order to have money to give away? But all those reasons belong to our sinful human nature, not to God. God just wants those needy people helped.

    If you wanted to be a Biblical one-issue voter, you'd do well to make that one issue serving the poor.




    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  2. #2
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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Don't forget about the rich:

    Mat 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
    Mat 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
    Mat 19:18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
    Mat 19:19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    Mat 19:20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
    Mat 19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
    Mat 19:22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
    Mat 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    Mat 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
    Mat 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
    Mat 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    I've heard there was a gate in Jerusalem called "the eye of the needle", and that to fit through this gate, camels would have to be unloaded.

  3. #3
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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Quote Originally Posted by Yirmeyahu
    Mat 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
    Mat 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
    Mat 19:25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
    Mat 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

    I've heard there was a gate in Jerusalem called "the eye of the needle", and that to fit through this gate, camels would have to be unloaded.
    The point being that a Rich man may not buy his way into heaven without sacrifice. The story points out that the man loved his possessions more than he loved God.

    Luke 12:

    15 He said to them, "Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses."

    16 He spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.

    17 He reasoned within himself, saying,'What will I do, because I don't have room to store my crops?'

    18 He said,'This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

    19 I will tell my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry."'

    20 "But God said to him,'You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared-whose will they be?'

    21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

    ************

    48 but he who didn't know, and did things worthy of stripes, will be beaten with few stripes. To whoever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    The point being that a Rich man may not buy his way into heaven without sacrifice. The story points out that the man loved his possessions more than he loved God.

    Luke 12:

    15 He said to them, "Beware! Keep yourselves from covetousness, for a man's life doesn't consist of the abundance of the things which he possesses."
    I agree. I think that's the significance of the "eye of the needle" riddle.

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Let's not forget that God loves you and will kill you if you don't do what he said. Or at least banish you and all your offspring forever, Like he did to Adam and Eve, or at least kill you if you turn around when he didn't say Simon Says, like he did to Lot's wife, or make you eat cow dung like he did this one dude. Actually it was supposed to be human feces, but the guy haggled God down a bit and God capitulated to having the man merely eat cow dung.

    Hey people, it's either God's way or the Highway! As for me... this good Christian boy is practicing his two step so he will dance the Dance of Elohim when the time comes.

    God's benevolent love be praised. Those who are seated at the right hand of the father.... never turned when he didn't say Simon Says.
    No! We can't all just "Get Along!"

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Quote Originally Posted by BatarngForce
    Let's not forget that God loves you and will kill you if you don't do what he said.
    Are you Jewish or Christian? Because that isn't what Christians believe.

  7. #7
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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Quote Originally Posted by BatarngForce
    Let's not forget that God loves you and will kill you if you don't do what he said. Or at least banish you and all your offspring forever, Like he did to Adam and Eve, or at least kill you if you turn around when he didn't say Simon Says, like he did to Lot's wife, or make you eat cow dung like he did this one dude. Actually it was supposed to be human feces, but the guy haggled God down a bit and God capitulated to having the man merely eat cow dung.

    Hey people, it's either God's way or the Highway! As for me... this good Christian boy is practicing his two step so he will dance the Dance of Elohim when the time comes.

    God's benevolent love be praised. Those who are seated at the right hand of the father.... never turned when he didn't say Simon Says.
    You know? I am a Christian. I have yet to ever shove my belief down anyone's throat or expect anyone to believe the same as I do and I have always respected others right to choose or talk about what they believe. But it bothers me when someone targets the entire Christian community as being wrong or puts them and their beliefs down as a whole.

    There are good people and bad people in every religious belief system. Every religious belief had it's share of obnoxious zealots. Christians might be more reprehensible than others simply because there are so many of them. But Batman, not all christians stand under the same canopy of false teaching and misrepresentation.

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    The wages of sin, Batarang, is death. Is your complaint that God punishes? Let's take just your first example. God gave Adam and Eve one instruction. They disobeyed it. Was it unjust of God, then, to banish them from the garden he created?

    If I am a father and I buy an X-Box for my son, and tell him "just make sure you do your homework before you play", and I catch him playing before his homework is finished, is it unjust of me to take the X-Box away?

    If God gave us life and instructions for how to live it, and certain things we are not to do, and we don't heed his words, is he being somehow unjust to take that life away?

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Quote Originally Posted by Yirmeyahu
    I agree. I think that's the significance of the "eye of the needle" riddle.

    LOL, actually it was. A camel can be unloaded and after passing through the gate, loaded back up.

    However, a rich man who treasures his wealth more than God has not hope of anything beyond the grave, he laid up his treasures in earthly things. But it's not impossible. Many rich people are great phalanthropists (I hope I spelled that right).

    I like Native American teaching. You have to give away without expecting something in return in order for there to be room to receive. It's all about staying in balance.

    Namaste'

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Re: The Bible and the Poor
    To: Bat what?

    I've sent you a private message regarding your 2 cents on our National Anthem being translated = trashed by the Mexicans.

    Now you are bashing our Country's Christians! Why haven't you already immigrated to some third world country? You clearly hate America and you are no Christian. How ironic that you eagerly accept and spend our U.S. currency which states "IN GOD WE TRUST".

    If I had my way...everyone like you would be put on a oneway flight to hell.

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    How eagerly you believe that because the Federal Reserve Notes you use say "IN GOD WE TRUST" that it therefore must be true, despite all evidence to the contrary.

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Quote Originally Posted by max believer
    Re: The Bible and the Poor
    To: Bat what?

    I've sent you a private message regarding your 2 cents on our National Anthem being translated = trashed by the Mexicans.

    Now you are bashing our Country's Christians! Why haven't you already immigrated to some third world country? You clearly hate America and you are no Christian. How ironic that you eagerly accept and spend our U.S. currency which states "IN GOD WE TRUST".

    If I had my way...everyone like you would be put on a oneway flight to hell.
    Well a guy who was in charge of the Federal Reserve had something to do with that but it wasn't like a country wide decision. Plus God means many things to many people, to the Christian it's tied up in the trinity, to the muslim it means Allah and yes there were many muslims in America at the time the declaration was written and signed, to the Jew it meant Yahweh, to some it meant nature.

    Read the book "American Gospel" and you will learn just exactly what part religion played in our country's early beginnings.

    And if you claim to be a christian you have some repenting to do. You just broke some of Jesus's teachings.

    Namaste'

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    God has already forgiven me...and I thank you for your concern.

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Quote Originally Posted by max believer
    God has already forgiven me...and I thank you for your concern.
    Forgiveness follows repentance. If we begin with the assumption that, if you'd repented, you would have apologized. Since you haven't apologized, it would follow that you haven't repented. The corollary is that you haven't been forgiven.

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Quote Originally Posted by max believer
    God has already forgiven me...and I thank you for your concern.

    Matt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    Matt 25:42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    Matt 25:43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    Matt 25:44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    Matt 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did [it] not to one of the least of these, ye did [it] not to me.

    Matt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    *************************

    ‘Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and out it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven.’ Matthew 5: 13 – 16

    Namaste'

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    Re: the bible and the poor

    Read your Bibles again...I don't owe any of you an apology for exercising my constitutional rights of free speech. I've apologized to my ultimate Judge and thereby have received his forgiveness. Thanking all of you in advance for your deep concerns with regards to "my" sins.

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