A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.[1]

Understanding the ‘rights of the poor’ is at the heart of the current race debate in America. The Hebrew ‘dal’ translated ‘the poor’ refers to those in society not having access to privilege, the weak and the helpless class. The righteous know those rights and act accordingly. A society that therefore works to lessen oppression and improve quality of life for the poor is a righteous society. The ‘wicked’ do not understand and/or acknowledge the divine right of the poor and consequently exploit the poor for political and/or economic gain.

Our fight as righteous people is for the rights of the poor as set forth in Scripture. The battle is not chiefly against poverty or racial inequality. We are not fighting to end poverty, class distinction, or even economic disparity. Our fight is against the oppression of the poor by self-serving politicians, criminal groups and gangs, big business, and ideologies that do not recognize the Biblical rights of the poor. The real enemy is the hate and strife perpetrated by self-serving ideologues that do not walk in ‘the fear of the Lord’ and is not based principally on the color of our skin or the size of our bank account.

Contrary to the so-called American dream, the Scripture affirms that in some cases it is better for one to stay poor than to get rich. “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways” (Proverbs 28:6). “Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice” (Proverbs 16:8). “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10). “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have….’ (Hebrews 13:5).

The Bible has much to say about the responsibility of the economically privileged to the underprivileged poor. Duty to God should compel us to care and compassion for the plight of our fellow man. The injunction in Proverbs 29:7 remains relevant today and should be a guiding principle in the turmoil of the present time. #leastofthese #poverty

Dr. Don

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Pr 29:7.