Wednesday, November 08, 2017

God's heart for the poor

homeless shopping cart
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Micah 2:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "You who are named the house of Jacob,
Is the Spirit of the Lord restricted?
Are these His doings?
Do not my words do good
To him who walks uprightly?" - Micah 2:7

From Micah's scoldings we begin to understand the extent of Judah's sin. Not only were the people guilty of idolatry but also injustice.

Micah paints the picture of someone lying awake at night, conniving how he can add to his property and in the morning enacting that plan (Micah 2:1,2). Instead of protecting society's most vulnerable, the powerful act like returning warriors as they ruthlessly strip their trusting neighbours of life's essentials and evict women (probably widows) and their children from their homes (Micah 2:8,9).

If there's one thing God hates, it's injustice to the poor, the alien, and the helpless. His passion for the vulnerable comes out again and again in the Bible, no less here in Micah's condemning words: "Arise and depart for this is not your rest." In plain English: "Those who had removed others from a restful life would be removed themselves because they had defiled God's land with their sinfulness" - Willard S. Elijahson's commentary on Micah, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1206.

At this time of year, when we tend to focus on ourselves and the upcoming Advent season and Christmas celebration, let's not neglect to remember the poor. How might we do that?
  • Put money in the Salvation Army kettles when they make their appearance in December. Or volunteer to man a kettle for a few hours (it's probably not too soon to contact them now and arrange to be a volunteer in December).
  • Take part in church and community initiatives that help the poor (collecting toys and food for special Christmas hampers, contributing to Christmas funds like our local Christmas Bureau).
  • Donate to the local foodbank (grocery items or money).
  • Welcome the poor when they come to church and perhaps invite them for a meal to get to know them.
  • Pray for wisdom when panhandlers and beggars approach on the street asking for money. Consider buying them a meal instead of giving cash.
  • Volunteer to help out with Christmas dinner events served to the poor and homeless (locally Union Gospel Mission serves an annual Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners).
  • Give money in your loved one's name to World Vision or other organizations that offer proxy gifts to impoverished peoples in the world, instead of lavishing on each other gifts we really don't need.  (Browse the World Vision Gift Catalogue)

PRAYER: Dear God, please give me Your heart for the poor and unfortunate. Help me to be obedient when I sense You stirring me to love in practical ways. Amen.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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