Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate,
for the Lord will plead their cause
and rob of life those who rob them.
How can one rob the poor? Why bother to crush the afflicted? Why bother, even if one is wicked, to do what brings no gain? Perhaps there is a robbery and an affliction that occurs by ignoring the plight of the poor and the afflicted. Concerning the commandment not to steal, the Larger Catechism contends this means we are to "endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own." The poor and the afflicted are the class of people least likely to be given consideration. For we condemn them for the ills they have brought on themselves or else are embarrassed by them. As there may be no gain in robbing the poor or crushing the afflicted, so we do not see gain in helping those who "won't help themselves" or those who have given up in despair.
We need to take note of the class of people that Scripture time and again says God is on the side of. We need to do some soul-searching, because God evidently is quite willing to search our souls about this. He is taking sides. He becomes the pleader of their cause. He is not an indifferent judge on this matter. Indeed, he is ready to judge us according to our response to them. Whose side do you want to be found on?
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org