Pastor Steve Ellison
In Isaiah chapter 10, the rich and powerful were oppressing the poor and powerless. God accused the powerful of turning government policy to their own benefit, deliberately harming the poor, the needy, the widows, and the orphans. The very people charged with protecting the weak were depriving them of their rights. That is despicable in any society, in any era, yet it has happened often. In Isaiah 10:3-4, God asks three questions and quickly gives the answer. “What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives or fall among the slain. (NIV) There will be no hiding in the day of judgment. There will be no use for the ill-gotten wealth. We ought to heed the warning. Those three questions apply to all people everywhere in every age. Consider them to your own benefit. Ignore them to your own detriment.
For years, our government leaders have been perverting justice in terms of the middle class and the poor. The Bible has a much better plan than our government when it comes to welfare. Our political leaders have implemented gradual changes over long periods of time, so that many have barely noticed. They have succeeded grandly in establishing a huge class of dependent citizens, who truly believe they cannot survive without the career politician. I speak from many years of experience in benevolence ministry, working with the goal of truly helping the weak and powerless.
Those who need help ought to be able to see who it comes from. An impersonal entity thousands of miles away cannot deliver the help efficiently. Waste will be an inherent problem. The government has no idea who is truly needy. Our government convinces the poor that they have no need to stay on good terms with benevolent friends, family, or the church. They can behave as dangerously, as immorally, and as boorishly as they want and their supreme friend the government will be there to take care of them. The Bible speaks of a welfare system which is local not nationwide, one where the recipient goes out and gathers for himself what society intentionally leaves for him. Certainly, there are those who are physically unable to gather for themselves. Local welfare can correctly account for those cases. The Bible speaks of a welfare system in which those who refuse to work shall not eat. The Bible speaks of a welfare system where the family cares for its own, not for a system where the needy are taken care of regardless of their mistreatment of family. The Bible speaks of helping widows who have been faithful to God and the church. It seems that this admonition applies to other groups of poor and needy as well.
Church benevolence ministries are rendered helpless, by bad governmental policy, to apply and enforce these teachings which would benefit the poor and all of society. The poor in our society really do not need church benevolence to survive anymore. The government has already met their basic needs. The needy have figured out that they can behave any way they desire and still be taken care. Almost always, their behavior is absolutely harmful to them. The poor see no need to try to be in right relationship with God, the church, the community, or even their own families. I see a need for us, as voters, church and community leaders, to consider the answer to the questions found in Isaiah 10:3-4. The church should be busy about God’s plan for benevolence. There will be a day of reckoning.