Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor
will himself call out and not be answered.
In a way, this proverb is more sobering than the previous one that warns of being ruined. There is a unique fear of being alone, of calling out for help and receiving only silence. The wicked may scoff at such a thought but that is only because they have yet to be desperate. The time will come when their strength and wit cannot save them. The time will come when they know they need help. And help will not come. No one will answer. The time will come when they stand before the Judge at Judgment Day and no one will be their advocate.
As they responded to others, so they will receive the same response. Note who the others are – the poor. We should not walk easily by the poor. We should not easily ignore their plight and blame their troubles on themselves. Whatever our political or social convictions may be on how to address poverty, we must personally care about our poor neighbor and be generous, whether it is a handout or, if that seems wrong, then giving generously to a ministry that helps the poor.
Scripture is consistent in portraying God as sympathetic towards the poor. We then must follow his example and his commandments. After all, the time may come when we need to cry out for help, and the time will come when we stand before the Judge and will be in need of our Advocate.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org