My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.
This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.
I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
Blessed is the one who considers the poor! In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
the LORD protects him and keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
The LORD sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.
Consider the poor.
Note that David did not simply state that the one blessed is the one who gives to the poor. No, it is not simply giving, but “considering the poor” that is “considered” here.
What is David trying to say here? To consider is to give attention to, to understand, to be prudent. I think of it as wisdom in supplying needs in order to help the one suffering, instead of simply sacrificing out of guilt or some external obligation. There is a way we help that hurts those we seek to help.
One of the first times I understood this concept was when a brother and I were out door knocking and evangelizing. We came across a young couple that was willing to listen, and we shared the gospel. Eventually, we were told they needed some diapers, which we were happy to retrieve for them. This gave us an opportunity to return and visit! Eventually they needed more formula, some food, a few more diapers, a bit of gas and a bus ticket. We continued to supply, yet there was something wrong. It just seemed wrong.
This family had funds for what some may consider luxury items (large tv, new stereo, a vehicle…), and our assistance was supplementing a lifestyle of desire, not need. Might I suggest that if I “considered the poor” in this instance today, I may have hesitation to express charity to the extent we did so long ago. Something to consider in each situation. Wisdom is needed!
You may wonder where this family is in relation to the gospel. I don’t remember either the husband or wife coming to church with us, making a decision for Christ or showing any real interest other than getting one more diaper.
To be honest, my brother and I got so caught up in supplying the “need”, in order to show Christian charity, we abandoned the original intent of our first visit. We eventually “considered the poor” in this instance, and moved on to others that might receive a message instead of milk us for money.
Charity can also become a crutch for those receiving, creating a dependence on the charity. This is a common concern amongst some charities that simply exist to maintain the status quo of supplying an immediate need, as opposed to solving a root problem. Don’t get me wrong, thinking I know of a solution, but in the personal interactions we have with the poor, David advises us to consider. To ponder the best solution for each particular case. To exercise wisdom in our efforts to assist the poor.
The one who wisely seeks to help the poor properly, without seeking self gratification, will be helped by the Lord in his day of trouble. Consider the day of trouble the saint falls into, and that the Lord will help, for our good and not to our detriment. The Lord Himself considers the poor.
The term poor refers to weakness, a lowliness, even a neediness. We are definitely poor, weak and needy. As we read these verses, it occurs to me that they could apply to the poor, or to the saint who considers the poor. Either way, to consider the poor, and to mimic the Lord’s mercy is enough for the saint.
As we learn of Him and His grace and mercy toward us, we are to follow His example, exercise a heart toward the poor, and consider ways to assist the poor for their good, and not simply ours.
Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.