Home Re/formation Institute Justice and the Poor: Does God favor the Poor?
Justice and the Poor: Does God favor the Poor? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Calvin Fox   
Monday, 14 March 2011 08:42

God ministers Justice equally to all- He treats all, rich and poor, fairly without partiality- with equity.  God does not have a special love for the Poor- He loves everyone; He loves His Covenant People.  God does not favor the Poor (as a class) over the Rich or over the Saints- we must not romanticize or idolize the Poor- some are saved, some unsaved, some are righteous, some evil.

The Law of God spells out Rights and Wrongs.  Murder and Theft are murder and theft, etc. God is on the side of anyone who suffers Injustice- those who’s Rights are denied.  It is more Scriptural if we say God is on the side of those who suffer injustice, rather than on the side of the poor as such.  Not all poor suffer injustice.  Many rich people do.

It is not valid to equate the Poor with the Oppressed (this is usually done using contemporary definitions of both words) More than 20 causes of Poverty are mentioned in Scripture.  Injustice is a cause of Poverty, but not always.  According to the Bible, poverty may also be caused by Disease, Death, War, Lifestyle Choices (Laziness, Addictions, Waste) and Ignorance. 

Poverty may be caused by natural disaster.  In the last few months alone, tens of thousands have been killed and millions more have became homeless because of natural disasters around the world such as last year’s earthquake in in Haiti (there are still 1 million people living in tent cities) and the recent tsunami in Japan (3-11). They are now destitute, but not because of injustice.  People who are destitute by no fault of their own need and should receive compassion in many practical ways.  Giving that help, however, is not the same as seeking Justice.  Many people, made poor and homeless by a natural disaster, will probably also become oppressed.  Many of them will be denied their rights and treated unjustly. God hates that, and for that reason, will be on their side and work for their vindication.  Those who are weak and powerless for any reason (perhaps simply because they are an ethnic minority) are the usual victims of oppression at the hands of the majority or the powerful. 

There are 10 basic root words in the Bible for oppression.  There are 10 other related words.  They are all used a total of 555 times and in 164 incidents they are connected with poverty or the Poor.  There are also many metaphors associating oppression and poverty.  And oppression is also often connected with Idolatry because those who oppress the poor are typically idolaters.

The words for “Oppression” or “Oppressed” are variously translated as “violated, treated violently, subdued, crushed, killed, defrauded, deceived, cheated, exploited, stolen from, robbed” and treated with “scorn or contempt”.  Wherever, whenever, any of this happens, to anyone rich or poor, it is evil and God opposes it.  It transgresses His Law.  It is unjust and God requires Justice.



 

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Last Updated on Monday, 14 March 2011 08:45