All Sons & Daughters – “All the Poor and Powerless”
Over the past few weeks I’ve been trying to get myself pumped up to be back in school. For those of you who don’t already know, I’m studying to become a social worker. In preparation for my classes, and really, the rest of my life, I’ve decided to look into what the bible says about the poor and powerless, the orphans and widows, the oppressed and those that are sick. Please don’t mistake me for some biblical scholar. I simply looked up topics such as “orphans,” “poor,” etc. in my bible’s concordance and typed out those verses for you here. (please forgive any spelling errors) I highly recommend that you look into these verses and read them within their context to get the intended meaning from them. If you know of any that aren’t included here, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll gladly add them.
James 1:27 “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
Exodus 22:22-24 “You must not exploit a widow or an orphan. If you exploit them in any way and they cry out to me, then I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will blaze against you, and I will kill you with the sword. They your wives will be widows and your children fatherless.”
Isaiah 1:17 “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the right of widows.”
1 Timothy 5:3 “Take care of any widow who has no one to care for her.”
Leviticus 25:37-37 “If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and cannot support himself, support him as you would a foreigner or a temporary resident and allow him to live with you. Do not charge interest or make a profit at his expense. Instead, show your fear of God by letting him live with you as your relative. Remember, do not charge interest on money you lend him or make a profit on food you sell him.”
Deuteronomy 14:28-29 “At the end of every third year, bring the entire tithe of that year’s harvest and store it in the nearest town. Give it to the Levites, who will receive no allotment of land among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all your work.”
Deuteronomy 15:7-11 “But if there are any poor Israelites in your towns when you arrive in the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tightfisted toward them. Instead, be generous and lend them whatever they need. Do not be mean-spirited and refuse someone a loan because the year for canceling debts is close at hand. If you refuse to make the loan and the needy person cries out to the Lord, you will be considered guilty of sin. Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the Lord your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.”
Nehemiah 5:9-11 “Then I pressed further, ‘What you are doing is not right! Should you not walk in the fear of our God in order to avoid being mocked be enemy nations? I myself, as well as my brothers and my workers, have been lending to the people money and grain, but now let us stop this business of charging interest. You must restore their fields, vineyards, olive groves, and homes to them this very day. And repay the interest you charged when you lent them money, grain, new wine, and olive oil.'”
Psalm 41:1 “Oh the joys of those who are kind to the poor! The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.”
Proverbs 14:31 “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.”
Amos 2:6-7 “This is what the Lord says: ‘The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sell honorable people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals. They trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name.'”
2 Kings 4:1 “One day the widow of a member of the group of prophets came to Elisha and cried out, ‘My husband who served you is dead, and you know how he feared the Lord. But now a creditor has come, threatening to take my two sons as slaves.'”
Proverbs 13:23 “A poor person’s farm may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it all away.”
Deuteronomy 24:10-22 “If you lend anything to your neighbor, do not enter his house to pick up the item he is giving as security. You must wait outside while he goes in and brings it out to you. If your neighbor is poor and gives you his cloak as security for a loan, do not keep the cloak overnight. Return the cloak to its owner by sunset so he can stay warm through the night and bless you, and the Lord your God will count as righteous.
“Never take advantage of poor and destitute laborers, whether they are fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. You must pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it. If you don’t, they might cry out to the Lord against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.
“Parents must not be put to death for the sins of their children, nor children for the sins of their parents. Those deserving to die must be put to death for their own crimes.
“True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt. Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord you God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command.
“When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring in a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back to get it. Leave it for the foreigners, orphans, and windows. Then the Lord your God will bless you in all you do. When you beat the olives from your olive trees, don’t go over the boughs twice. Leave the remaining olives for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. When you gather the grapes in your vineyard, don’t glean the vines after they are picked. Leave the remaining grapes for the foreigners, orphans, and widows. Remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt. That is why I am giving you this command.”
Ruth 2:2 “One day Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, ‘Let me go out into the harvest fields to pick up the stalks of grain left behind by anyone who is kind enough to let me do it.'”
Mark 2:23 “One Sabbath day as Jesus was walking through some grainfields, his disciples began breaking off heads of grain to eat.”
Amos 5:12 “For I know the vast number of your sins and the depth of your rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.”
Luke 6:21 “God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.”
Galatians 2:10 “Their only suggestion was that we keep on helping the poor, which I have always been eager to do.”
James 2:5 “Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him?”