As a Body of Christ, we will reflect Jesus more accurately when we maintain a high regard in fighting for the rights of others, rather than our own. God expects us as His people, to take the lead and to make the implementation of His kindness and justice a high priority in this broken world that we live in.
To know the Lord is to defend the poor and needy.
“Does it make you a king to have more and more cedar? Did not your father have food and drink? He did what was right and just, so all went well with him. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD. Jeremiah 22:15-16 (NIV)
The emphasised verse for this week (Knowing God) is tied to the following: Doing what is right and just (22:15) while defending the cause of the poor and needy (22:16). Knowing God means knowing His moral character and living accordingly.
Even as we approach the year-end holidays, we can ask ourselves, have we known God better in 2022 as compared to 2021? Borders are opening, more people are travelling, and our church has also mobilised more overseas mission teams to go out to the nations. As we do so, we become more aware of the plight of the poor and needy in other nations. Yet, will we also become more aware of our God who invites us to know Him more by defending them?
As Christians, we must take the lead in protecting those uncared for in our society.
The connection between justice and righteousness and knowing God is also emphasised in Jeremiah 9:24, “but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
Locally, when a unit in the rental block that we have been reaching out to near our church caught fire earlier this year, we swiftly moved into action. Lighters and staff offered to help with the clearing and shifting for the low-income family. The pastoral team came alongside to provide counselling and organised the provision of essential items and new furnishings for the replacement unit in the same block. The beneficiaries have now started to attend our church services, and desire to know God more deeply.
As Christians, we must take the lead in protecting, defending, and caring for those in our society who have difficulty caring for themselves. This includes the elderly, the unborn, children-at-risk, those who are ill, the unemployed, and the list goes on. To be clear, these are not the things that save us, but they are the things that show we are true people of God.
We can count on the Lord to provide justice for those treated cruelly.
“The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.” Psalms 103:6 (NIV)
We serve a good God who is righteous and just, and He expects those of us who know Him to live righteously and justly within the world. Failure to care for those who need help is just as unacceptable for Christians as is idolatry. It is a violation of the trust God places in us towards the people around us. A breakdown in the area of our horizontal relationships towards people usually leads to a breakdown in our own vertical relationship with Him.
God demands that we as His people worship Him and Him alone. This is in line with His character as we live with one another showing His kindness, exercising justice, and rightly caring for those who are weak, who do not have the ability to care for themselves. Our failure to do so is a serious sin. God (extra space between these words) makes it quite clear that at the heart of righteous and just living, is caring for the poor and needy. This is a timeless truth. Anyone who truly knows God will have the heart to know and serve the poor and needy. The godly are willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the poor.
As we go through this week, let us consider the following questions:
How can we best extend God’s love to the needy around us today?
What action(s) will be the most loving and transformational in this person’s life?
These questions invite us to step away from judgement and towards transformation, allowing us the opportunity to respond with the kind of grace Jesus first offered to us.
Monday: Jeremiah 9:23-24
This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
Tuesday: Psalms 103:6
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
Wednesday: Matthew 25:40
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Thursday: Micah 6:8
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Friday: Matthew 6:2-4
So, when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Saturday: Isaiah 56:1 (NLT)
This is what the LORD says: “Be just and fair to all. Do what is right and good, for I am coming soon to rescue you and to display my righteousness among you.
Sunday: Jeremiah 7:5-7
If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.
All scriptures are quoted from the New International Version (NIV), unless otherwise stated.
By Bro David Jeremiah Mok