There will be no poor among you, for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess.

Deuteronomy 15: 4

 

This is a hard thought to figure out. It certainly goes against the reality that we experience, and it also suggests some things that are quite uncomfortable to consider. One way of responding to this mandate would be to become very restrictive in who we allow to enter into our land. Another is to define the area of responsibility as being as close to our physical homes as is possible. Certainly we can say that this is a thought that God expressed about living in the times of Moses and that it has no direct application to our times and culture. There are many ways in which we can attempt to escape the possibility that there are truly large numbers of poor in our land and that we have a God-ordained responsibility to care for them. Yet, is that how God, Himself, views it?

 

I believe that there are some underlying truths that place the application of God’s will here in perspective. The first of these is faith in God. This is followed very closely by trusting Him to be the sole provider of everything that is needed. The Lord had promised His people that they were going to be dwelling in a land that lacked nothing. They were being given a land to claim and to occupy as His commissioned agents of restoration. Yet, our human tendency is to never settle down and be comfortable until we are fully in charge of the situation at hand. We always want more, seek to have it sooner, and don’t much like to share what we have acquired. The next underlying truth is that God wants us to function as His agents for change and restoration in the land. In order to do this we must look, sound, and act a lot more like Christ than most of us do today. We need to realize that we have many patterns of thought and of living that are both spiritually and practically antagonistic to His will.

 

Simply and perhaps brutally stated, most of us have far more than we need. We have more than we could possibly use in several lifetimes. We expend tremendous amounts of our resources in going after it all, too. We live in a culture that appreciates power and that exploits the disadvantaged. Many of us strive to gain a position of superiority at every opportunity. This is not just a characteristic of national leaders or even of people who hold political office, for I believe that most of us, if we look closely enough, will see this ungodly characteristic in ourselves. Christ desires for us to embrace a heart that joins Him in seeking to eliminate poverty and oppression from our land. This starts with a deeply-rooted faith in God. We need to trust Him to the degree that He is trustworthy, and in my understanding and experience, that is absolutely and totally. As I see it Christ wants me to be fully engaged in doing His restorative work in the land that He has given me to occupy for Him. I believe that no borders or boundaries define this land. In our times we have the God-gifted ability to touch lives in every corner of the world. God’s mandate that there be no poor in the land starts with a call to righteousness, and it is accomplished by fully embracing Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.