Matthew 5.3. cont.
3 O the joy of the poor in spirit, the kingdom of Heaven belongs to them.
It will be interesting and of value for us to consider the provisions that God had made for the poor within the nation of Israel.
There were a number of things that God commanded His people to do in regards to the poor, such as:
v not charging interest on money lent to the poor;
v a coat given in a pledge had to be returned at night, since it was needed for their warmth;
v generosity was to be shown to the poor and all debts were to be cancelled in the seventh year;
v some of the tithes had to be distributed to the poor;
v the poor had to be allowed to share in the celebration of the feasts;
v those who were hired for work had to be paid their wages at the end of the day;
v crops were to be left at the edge of fields so that the poor could collect them (this is called gleaning).
The provisions for the poor were enshrined in the Law that God gave to His people.
The Church of Jesus has continued to look after the poor, and to try and meet the needs of the destitute. It is all part of the command of Jesus that we should love one another in the same way as He loves us.
There are also a few things that Jesus said in regards to the poor.
Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me” – Matthew 19.21(NLT).
39 The Lord said to him: “Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and plate, but your inside is full of robbery and wickedness.
41 Are you unaware that the one who makes the outside also makes the inside?
42 However, give from what is within you as mercy and all things will be clean to you” – Luke 11.39-41.
33 You must sell your possessions and give compassionate contributions. Make for yourselves purses that will not wear out (lit. Become whole), an unfailing treasure in heaven, where a thief cannot get at it and neither a moth destroy it.
34 For wherever your treasure is, you heart will also be there – Luke 12.32-34.