The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience, and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It is eternally true and applicable for all of life.
Proverbs 21:11-20 When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge. The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, Turning the wicked to ruin. He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered. A gift in secret subdues anger, And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath. The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous, But is terror to the workers of iniquity. A man who wanders from the way of understanding Will rest in the assembly of the dead. He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich. The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, And the treacherous is in the place of the upright. It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman. There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up.
At Sovereign King Church, part of what defines our character as a church is our application of bold, sharp, holy violence to the culture of depravity in the world around us. We do not hesitate to unsheathe the Sword of the Spirit, and do battle with those that seek to raise lofty opinions against the knowledge of Christ Jesus. We war at the deathcamp. We do battle on social media. We confront Governors to their faces. Our weapons are not carnal, but are mighty, and we aren't afraid to use them. Psalm 82 is our battle cry. The proverb tells us that:
He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered.
No one could accuse you of faltering in this could they? Surely pleading for the unborn, helping orphans, and providing for those who are hungry and thirsty would qualify as helping the poor. Right? What about those times when no one is watching? What about the opportunities that are not in the spotlight, that take place when it’s just you, that poor person, and God. Times when you are tired, you worked all day, you went round and round with your boss on an issue, sat in traffic for an hour, got home and dinner wasn’t ready, the kids were acting wild, the air conditioner quit working,then bam! God brings someone across your path. A phone call from a troubled person who is desperate for some hope interrupts what little so-called peace you have. What you really want in that moment is quiet, and relief from your problems. What God commands is that you help the poor. Perhaps you are home with the children all day. Homeschool hasn’t gone as planned. Laundry is up to the ceiling. The dog peed on your bed. Your husband and kids are whiny and grumbling. You got problems. You don’t have room for one more thing on your plate right now. Then you hear a knock at the door. It’s an elderly neighbor. Their life was just interrupted by a health concern, or some family dispute. They are lonely and simply want to talk. How do you respond? What about you, children? Do you think that the instruction to help the poor is only for adults? Maybe you are thinking to yourself right now “ I am too little. Too small. No one listens to me. I don’t have a job, I have no money, so how can I possibly help the poor”. Children, you are precious little arrows in the hands of your parents. Your silly, childish weaknesses are a gift that can be used for God’s glory. When someone is down, perhaps you can pick them up with a kind word or laughter. That neighbor who doesn’t have a husband could probably benefit from a strong young man helping in the yard. Maybe that dirty, mean spirited kid with ragged clothes at the park could benefit from playing with a kid like you that loves God and doesn’t care how he is dressed, or that he stinks.
James 2:13 says: “For judgement is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgement”. Having been shown much mercy, washed clean by the blood of Christ, as Christians we should be the most generous, the most merciful people on planet earth. Helping the poor, showing them mercy is good fruit in the life of a Christian which reflects the image of our Heavenly Father who is rich in lovingkindness and mercy towards us. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more. Let us be generous people, with our time, talents, and treasures. May we repent of selfishness, indifference, and a lack of empathy for the poor, pointing them to Christ Jesus and the hope found in Him. If able, please kneel at this time, as we confess our sins to our Heavenly Father.
Father of mercies and God of all comfort, please be merciful towards us sinners. Father, you have blessed us with all good spiritual gifts through Your Son Jesus Christ: salvation, freedom from the bondage of sin, forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit of promise, and eternal life with You. Yet, because of indwelling sin, we often seek to hoard these gifts, rather than using them for Your glory by taking heed to the cries of the poor. Father, please create within us clean hearts and steadfast Spirits and enable us through the power of Your Spirit to love our neighbor as ourselves. Please help us to recognize that we are truly rich because of the grace You have lavished on us, and help us to respond with generosity to the poor we encounter each day. Father, please soften our often calloused hearts. Please help us to remember how poor we once were, then You showed us mercy. Please Lord, help us to have compassion for the multitudes as You Son Jesus did. Please forgive us where we fall short of Your Glory. In Jesus mighty name we pray, Amen.
Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to all that believe:
Isaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.
To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts!
(From the July 29th, 2018 Liturgy of Sovereign King Church. By Aaron Sabie.)