December 15 I Wednesday
“My command is this: love each other as I have loved you.” —John 15:12
How do we know God takes care of the poor? As we read through the Old Testament, we see four primary ways that God made provision for the poor. Firstly, there are the different offerings to reflect what people could afford. In Leviticus 1, it talks about offerings from the herd, the flock or birds; what this represented is a gradation in value depending on what someone could afford to bring. Through this, God demonstrates that He wants all people to be able to engage at the altar of worship.
Secondly, there are the gleaning laws that we read in Leviticus 19 that detailed when the Israelites entered into the Promised Land, each of them would receive land that they could farm, but they are not allowed to reap their crops to the very edge of the field or go over it a second time to gather any produce that they left the first time. God writes this into His law so that those who are poor or are foreigners in the land could have access to nutritious food.
Thirdly, every seventh year, any debts that had been accumulated are to be canceled. We read in Deuteronomy 15 that the Israelites are to lend freely to a fellow brother, giving to them if they fall on hard times and are in need. But if they struggle to pay their debts, it is cancelled every seventh year. Fourthly, there is the Year of Jubilee, which is like a once in a lifetime reset. If someone had fallen on hard times and had to sell their land, in the fiftieth year, all of that land would be transferred back to its original ownership.
God includes all of these things in His covenant. These principles of generosity and concern for those who have less material wealth are meant to protect the poor, so that they could sustain life for 52 weeks of the year. They are also written so that all people could come before Him for worship at the Tabernacle, because He wants all people to have access and opportunity.
As we study God’s Word, we see God’s concern for the vulnerable. Through the gleaning laws and other provisions for the poor, God has poured that into our lives for our enjoyment, but He has also poured it into our lives to share in the need of others. This Christmas season, as we gather around tables, laugh and prepare meals, may we also take the opportunity to welcome someone else to our own Christmas table, remembering that God has poured an abundance into many of our lives.
Prayer: Lord Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundance that You have blessed me with all this time. Open my heart of generosity and give me a concern for the vulnerable. May I bless them as You have blessed me.