“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV
When a new musical movie version of Les Misérables was released in December of 2012, I made a point of seeing it on the big screen. Set in France in the 1800’s, the story is a gripping tale of an ex-convict, Jean Valjean, who finds redemption following his parole from 19 grueling and bitter years in prison. Becoming a prosperous factory owner, he spends his life as a force for good to the poor and wretched of society. The movie does an incredible job of depicting the horrible treatment the afflicted and needy endured at the hands of the wealthy upper class. Valjean’s goodwill, however, is a poignant tribute to a life transformed by the power of God.
Valjean is a perfect example of our theme verse today. Written in the imperative, these two verses demand our attention. Inactivity is not an option. We are to speak up, stand up, and defend the rights of the deprived and poverty-stricken.
Proverbs goes on to applaud and bless those who care for the well-being of the less fortunate. Those who are gracious to the poor will be happy and blessed, as well as honored and repaid by God Himself. (Prov. 14:21, 31, 19:17, 22:9) Even a king (or anyone in leadership) who judges the poor with truth will find his throne established forever. (Prov.29:14) That’s powerful!
On the flip side, woe to those who would oppress and mock the poor or ignore their cry. To do so is to taunt God and find oneself in poverty with no one listening or caring. (Prov. 14:31, 17:5, 21:13, 22:16) To shut your eyes to the reality of the down and out will result in a life filled with curses (Prov. 28:27b) That’s scary!
As God’s beloved, I pray you will let God move your heart to always be sensitive to the needs of others, especially the underprivileged, the sick, the impoverished, the lowly. Let us strive to imitate the actions of the godly woman of Proverbs 31:20 (NIV).
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
[Digging Deeper – Proverbs 22:22-23, 28:27a, 29:7, and 30:14]
Willing to help,
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pixabay.com/hands-poor-human-refugees-help-1005412