31 Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.
Believers are called to honor God with their generosity.
For a good majority of my life I have been involved in sports. I can’t begin to tell you how many hours I’ve spent on the practice field trying to master the art of kicking a football. Over and over again I would practice different drills to sharpen my technique and master my craft. Looking back it had to have been somewhere in the tens of thousands of hours that I put into kicking a 13.5lb ball as far and as high as I possibly could. Behind all of this was one simple driving factor. Please the coaches.
If the coaches were pleased with me then that typically meant the school was pleased with me, aka I was given a scholarship. If the coaches were pleased with me then that typically meant the fans were pleased with me. If the coaches were pleased with me then that meant my teammates were also pleased with me. I could go on and on with this thought process. Hence my main motivation during my athletic career, make coach happy.
Now I tell you all of this to illustrate a point. God is of infinite more value than any coach, scholarship, fan, or teammate. Our primary job as a child of God is to bring him honor in every area of our lives. 1 Cor 10:31 says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” It’s a great and terrifying thought to know that I can, and have, brought dishonor to the king of the entire universe.
One of the quickest ways to dishonor, or as scripture would put it insult him is to oppress the poor man (v31). Take a moment and let that sink in. You can live your life in such a way that is an insult to the God of all that is good. Man, talk about an epic fail. Of all the things I don’t want to do with my life, insulting the king is one of them.
Oppression of a poor man is one of those things that we typically don’t put on our daily calendars. It’s not like you and I wake up and think, “Today I need to run to the grocery store, oh, and steal that change bucket from the guy who always sits out in front of Wal-Mart”. No, this happens in a more subtle way. Yes. You should be generous to meet a need when men in need ask. However I think oppression is an issue that is much deeper. A man can lack in his physical needs but be satisfied spiritually. True poverty happens when a man misses out on a relationship with God. This is the only tangible lasting thing that we can offer to a poor man. By doing so we satisfy a deeper hunger, the hunger of his soul.
God delivered us out of the greatest poverty when he freely went to the cross for our sins. We did not ask for this, but it is something that he provided for us in our greatest time of need. To refuse to bring that same joy to another who is in need is to paint our maker in a selfish light, which he is not.By giving to a poor man, physically or spiritually, we honor our Maker because in doing so, we reflect his very own heart.
Questions To Ponder
What words are used to describe actions people do in this verse?
Why do you think oppression of the poor insults God?
Think about your interactions with the poor, or your feelings towards them. Take time to pray and ask God to give you a heart like his for the poor.
Scripture Memory | January | Proverbs 17:9
“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.”