Q: What does Scripture reveal of God’s care, compassion, and faithfulness for oppressed people? —Trish
The Scriptures tell us that God is the defender, protector, and provider of the poor, the helpless and the oppressed (Deuteronomy 10:17-19; Psalm 9:9, 10:17-18, 103:6-8, 146:7-9). His care and compassion for these is seen in the protection and the provisions He made for the aliens (i.e. non-Jews), widows and orphans, often victims of neglect, discrimination and injustice.
Because God loves and cares for the poor and the oppressed, He commands His people to do the same. There should be equal legal protection and justice for both aliens and nationals (Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 15:15-16, Deuteronomy 24:17). The Jews are to “treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself” (Leviticus 19:33). God’s people are not to take advantage, mistreat or oppress them for God hears their cries for justice (Deuteronomy 10:19; Exodus 22:21-23, 23:9).
All workers, including slaves and the aliens, are entitled to a day of rest every week (Exodus 20:9-10, 23:12). Specifically, all workers, especially the poor and destitute laborers are to be paid fairly and promptly for their work (Deuteronomy 24:14-15). God warned His people that “cursed is anyone who denies justice to foreigners, orphans, or widows” (Deuteronomy 27:19).
God instructed the Jews to be generous and allow the poor to feed on their lands under the law of gleanings at every harvest (Leviticus 19:9-10, 23:22; Deuteronomy 24:19-22). A tithe, as a form of social and economic help, is also legislated for the aliens, the fatherless and the widow (Deuteronomy 14:28-29, 26:12).
God’s people must “learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (Isaiah 1:17).
In a startling revelation and declaration of who He really is, Jesus said God had “anointed [Him] to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent [Him] to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come” (Luke 4:18-19). The coming of Jesus is the final and ultimate proof of God’s care, compassion, and faithfulness for oppressed people. —K.T. Sim
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