Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Are these words really from Proverbs 31? What an interesting passage this is, written by a king around 3,000 years ago about the things his mother taught him! Usually, when we think of Proverbs 31, we think only of its description of the attributes of a godly wife. In the words above, though, we see that it was important to this godly wife and mom to educate and encourage her son to live sacrificially and righteously and not to think only of himself.
While both men and women suffer in poverty, women have fewer resources to draw on simply because they were born women. Many times, women are the last to eat, the last to have health care and the first forced into sexual exploitation just to survive.
Jesus told his disciples that the poor will always be around, but we mustn’t misinterpret his words to mean that God doesn’t expect more from us. Not only does he want us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and to defend the rights of the poor, but he also promises us blessing if we adopt their mindset.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Kent Hughes points out that the Greek term that is translated "poor" can help us understand the point Jesus is making. Hughes notes that the term “comes from a verbal root that denotes 'to cower and cringe like a beggar.'” Hughes continues, "In the New Testament, it bears something of this idea because it denotes a poverty so deep that the person must obtain his living by begging. He is fully dependent on the giving of others. He cannot survive without help from the outside."
How about us today? Are we living in such a way that we know we cannot survive without God’s help? As we pray this month, let us pray that we will be poor in spirit. Let us pray that our dependence will be on the Lord alone. Let us lift up our prayers for those who need to know God as Savior.
Thank you for serving the Lord and praying that we may be poor in spirit before him each day.