It was Hagar who first called him "the God who sees me" (Gen 16:13), and Deuteronomy 10 tells us that God still sees those of low estate:
"He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing" (Deut 10:18).
Because of his concern for the poor — be they orphan, widow, immigrant, or simply poor — God tells Israel to make sure they are kind, generous, and fair to them.
They were told to be kind to foreigners (10:19), to give the entire tithe to "the Levites ... the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows" every third year (14:29, 26:12), and to cancel debts every seven years (15:1). In general, "If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need" (15:7-11).
Also, they weren't to charge Israelites interest (23:19) or take any necessities in pledge for loans (24:6, 10-13). Instead they were supposed to be be careful to pay their workers promptly (24:14-15), to make sure the weak were protected in court (24:17-18), and to leave food for the poor to collect in the fields (24:19-22).
What God told the Jews in Deuteronomy is clearly meant to inform New Testament believers as well (eg, Matt 25:31-45, James 1:27).
If we remember that everything we have is from God, we cannot be selfish as if we somehow deserve what we have and the poor deserve their poverty. We have been blessed and therefore are expected to be a blessing.
Now most people don't hate the poor. Who wants to see starving children and widows? But it's easy to become so caught up in our own lives that we forget them, leaving them to their own devices. The lesson of Deuteronomy is that God expects us to be active in caring for the poor and that he will judge us based on how we respond.
Helping the Poor Biblically
Loving Neighbors 7000 Miles Away
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