“Trample The Poor; Turn Aside The Needy” ( Amos 5: 12, ESV ) by Carley Evans


 

In today’s political arena, we hear — especially, though not exclusively, from the Christian and conservative right — a lot of talk about abuse of government programs by the disenfranchised of our nation. Yet, God repeatedly calls us to what He refers to as “true religion.” What is this true religion?

True religion, says God, is to help those who can not or do not — for whatever reason — help themselves. God specifically mentions orphans and widows, i.e. the vulnerable of our societies.

I want to look at these two groups of people in the time of the prophets: orphans, who truly can not help themselves and widows, who may actually be able to help themselves. An orphan is on her own; she needs total assistance. However, a widow may marry her dead husband’s brother, and so make her way in the world. The wife described in Proverbs is quite well-off; yet God calls us to help her when her husband passes.

Repeatedly, God calls us to establish justice, not to tax the poor, not to turn aside the needy. Those of us who have things have them because of God. Why do we cling to them as if they belong to us?

Recognize our place is not to judge the disenfranchised; our place is to assist them.

“because you trample on the poor
and you exact taxes of grain from him,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not dwell in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your transgressions
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and turn aside the needy in the gate.
13 Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time,
for it is an evil time.  14 Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
15 Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate.” (Amos 5: 11-15)

“Yet I Will Rejoice” (Habakkuk 3: 19, NIV) by Carley Evans


(June 8, 2010 8:42pm)

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I rejoice in the Lord, I am joyful in God my Savior.” (Habakkuk 3: 17 – 18)

Though the bank account is empty and there is no food in the refrigerator, though the job expected does not come to fruition and no job is in sight, though friends are seemingly scarce to non-existent and there is no one nearby to whom to turn, yet rejoice in the Lord, be joyful in God the Savior.

God is our strength. We run like deer traversing rugged, even treacherous ground, and God gives us sure feet. We do not stumble as we go up to the heights. Our God is sovereign, and His complete control reassures us that we are safe even here on the edge of the cliff.

We are enabled by God Himself. We do not fall so as not to recover.

“God Holds Your Hand” (Psalm 37: 5, HCSB) by Carley Evans


“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” (Psalm 37: 4)

“Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for Him.” (Psalm 37: 7)

‘Silence before God’ implies a deep relaxation in faith that God is in control, that His will for your life is perfect, that He knows the plans He has made for you, plans for good.

The psalmist tells you, “Do not be agitated.” For “the humble will inherit the land and will enjoy abundant prosperity.” (Psalm 37: 8, 11) But David also writes that “the little that the righteous man has is better than the abundance of many wicked people.” (Psalm 37: 16)

David reassures you that “a man’s steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way. Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand.” (Psalm 37: 23 – 24)

I tell you now that God is holding your hand; He leads you in His way — the way of everlasting life.