The importance of a single hair

 

Who are the Poor?

Our idea in general of poverty is, not having enough money, whatever your individual view of ‘enough’ is.  But is there more to it?  It’s important to understand the word properly in light of God’s heart for those who are poor…

There are many different words translated into the English word ‘poor’ in the Old and New Testaments.

Among them are-

Dallah (dal-law’) n-f.

1. (properly) something dangling, i.e. a loose thread or hair

2. (figuratively) indigent

lean, needy, poor (man), weaker.- lower class, those who have less materially than the upper class

Aniy (aw-nee’) adj.

1. depressed, in mind or circumstances

afflicted, humble, lowly, needy, poor.- pain of being taken advantage of because in a lower class

Ebyown (eb-yone’) adj.

1. destitute

[in the sense of want (especially in feeling)]

beggar, needy, poor (man).- dependence on someone else just to survive- used often by David to God

Ruwsh (roosh) v.

1. to be destitute

[a primitive root]

lack, needy, (make self) poor (man).- desperately poor, vulnerable to exploitation, unprotected

Ptochos (pto-khos’) adj.

1. a beggar (as cringing),  a pauper

2. (figuratively) distressed

3. (literally, as a noun) strictly denoting absolute or public dependency on charity

{also used in a qualified or relative sense; not just financial distress in private}

[from ptosso “to crouch”]

beggar(-ly), poor- dependent on others to survive- publicly poor.

Pentichros (pen-tikh-ros’) adj.

1. necessitous

KJV: poor (implying, in context, choosing to be poor in order to help or give to others)

SO, we can see that there are many different aspects to poverty in the Bible, and therefore, in God’s eyes.  Poverty isn’t just the idea of not having money, or of not having enough.  It also involves the idea of the mental weight of being unable to provide, the vulnerability and oppression suffered by the poor from those who are not, the public humiliation of it, in essence, the way it affects the relationship of the impoverished to the not-impoverished.  That horrible feeling of being just a individual hair in a huge head of thick hair- who cares if it’s gone?  God does, which is why He speaks so often about carring for the poor…(Pentichros, which is quite different from the other meanings, I believe still comes with the oppression and mindsets of the other words, but also with the grace and lightness of God.  That word is a mindset in constant tension- pulled down by the world’s heaviness, uplifted by God’s calling and lightness.)

So, God is concerned with the feelings of those who are poor, not just the monetarily standing of them.  And He says many times that He stands with them, he desires them protected, and he protects them.    He sees everything that happens to them, and they are never seen as ‘small’ or insignificant to Him.

We are called to do the same- to help all who are poor in any form.  But it is more than just money- it is mental and spiritual- multilayered.  And helping the poor must involve all those areas, otherwise it is not really helping and is merely making ourselves feel better without accomplishing anything truly meaningful to others or God, or, even, to ourselves.

I believe this justifies a welfare system, provided that the help given is multilayered- giving money, AND spiritual help (but not ‘shoving your religion on someone’), AND an emphasis and aid to get out of the current situation, AND honoring those who are served, regardless of sacrifice to your own pride.  This also justifies foreign aid, and all the other things countries and individuals do, provided that it is, again, a holistic thing.   But the real burden for this is on the church, as commanded by God to care for the poor…

What good is it to place a Band-Aid on a wound if the wound is infected and cannot heal?  Wether the Band-Aid is religion or money or friendship or whatever.  We are created by God to need many different things in our lives, and, if we are providing someone else with those, we must give all of those as God makes us able to.

 

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