Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Bible on the Poor or, Why God is a Liberal

You might not have ever been inside a church where copies of the Old Testament were available, so here in this post, I've compiled just a handful of some of the key verses from the Bible pertaining to social justice. These verses and more can be found at this link: The Bible on the Poor or, Why God is a liberal - zompist.com

The New Testament also has many verses commanding believers to help the needy, and you can find them at the link, but in no way did the NT replace the Torah and haftorah to disqualify the original Jewish teachings as moot, as some churches teach. It seems to me mercy is the point of the Abrahamic faith, and that the teaching of mercy is the heart of all religion. This Christmas / Hanukkah, I hope to reflect on what it means to be good in the eyes of a greater power than ourselves - or the best part of our own conscience if we allow it to give us compassion over judgment of others which only hurts us all in the end.

“I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6 NIV)

"The multitude of your sacrifices--what are they to me?" says the LORD. "I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats." (Isaiah 1:11)

"If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. (Deut. 15:7)

"Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. (Prov. 31:8ff. [Commandment to kings.])

"Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" (Is. 58:66ff.)

The Bible contains more than 300 verses on the poor, social justice, and God's deep concern for both. This page contains a wide sample of them, and some reflections. Continue reading at this link.