Matters of Faith: ONE TO ANOTHER ‬

By Reverend J. Loren Russell, BA

‭‭Deuteronomy 15:7-11 – CEV ‬‬
7 After the Lord your God gives land to each of you, there may be poor Israelites in the town where you live. If there are, then don’t be mean and selfish with your money. 8 Instead, be kind and lend them what they need. 9 Be careful! Don’t say to yourself, “Soon it will be the seventh year, and then I won’t be able to get my money back.” It would be horrible for you to think that way and to be so selfish that you refuse to help the poor. They are your relatives, and if you don’t help them, they may ask the Lord to decide whether you have done wrong. And he will say that you are guilty. 10 You should be happy to give the poor what they need, because then the Lord will make you successful in everything you do. 11 There will always be some Israelites who are poor and needy. That’s why I am commanding you to be generous with them.

My article last week (“When the Word of God is Adulterated”) got quite a few negative and even vulgar comments on my Facebook page. I want to make it clear that the word of God, the Holy Bible, and dare I say, any book that seeks to present God to mankind, not only introduces its readers to the Lord, but lays the foundation for our treatment of one another. Every time the Word is taken out of context, misquoted, or misinterpreted, it becomes the substance of fruitless arguments and ultimately, the mistreatment of people.
On any given day in any given neighborhood, you will find someone who has fallen on hard times seeking relief by asking strangers who pass by for some spare change or something to eat. Moses wrote in the book of the second Law (the meaning of Deuteronomy), that the poor will be with them always. Jesus’ own statements affirms this assessment in Matthew 26:11, Mark 14:7, and John 12:8. Add to that what the writer of Proverbs 22:2 says, “the rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is maker of them all,” and we see why the instruction to be generous with the poor was not a request but a command. It’s not a reach when I say that there but by the grace of God, it could be any one of us.
The children of Israel are about to enter into the Promised Land, a land that they did not work for, cultivate, nor get from their parents, but land that the Lord was giving to them. Moses instructs them that they were to be mindful that there will be other Israelites among them who would be poor (that’s the subject of another article). He instructs them to be kind and generous to them, especially on the cusp of the Year of Release, which is the year that all debt was forgiven from one Israelite to another.

The Matthew Henry Commentary points out that they were to be careful not to deny their fellow man the charity they enjoyed as a gift from God. The Israelites’ generous treatment of the poor reveals God’s love and generosity towards us. Moses seeks to set the Israelites on the right path, so he shares the Law with them a second time, instructing them on the application of the Law in their lives. Today, some of our highest earning citizens are virtually poor because of debt. I just had a thought; what a blessing it would be in our society if every seven years, our debt was forgiven.
Moses instructs the Israelites to be openhanded and free when it comes to dealing with the poor. It did not matter whether or not they were family, of the same faith, culture, race, or circle of friends. According to verse 11, all they needed in order to qualify for their generosity was to be God’s creation!
Let me leave you with these encouraging verses, ”You should be happy to give the poor what they need, because then the Lord will make you successful in everything you do (v. 10); “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life” (Galatians 6:7-8). This is what we can expect when we do right one to another.

Be Blessed!

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book here .

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