Proverbs chapter 21, verse 13 is sobering, to say the least. So this is the word of God. Proverbs 21:13 says, “Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor, will himself call out and not be answered.” This proverb makes clear that God cares about the poor and God calls us to care for the poor, to listen to the cry of the poor, to respond to the cry of the poor. And God going so far here as to say, “When you close your ear to the cry of the poor, then I will close my ear to you”. That’s a potent statement, particularly when many of us who are listening to this are extremely wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Some of the wealthiest people to ever walk planet Earth, speaking specifically about us in North America, and maybe many different people who might be listening to this in other places in the world. We live in a world of massive poverty. About a billion people today living in desperate poverty around us in the world. And so, we’ve got to ask ourselves the question, “Are we closing our ears to their cries?” This is so convicting when I read this because I realize in my life if I’m not careful, I can go on with my life on a day by day basis and pretend like desperate poverty doesn’t exist in the world around me.
God cares about the poor and calls us to care about the poor
and respond to their cry.
And the process of closing my eyes and ears to the poor, God is saying in this proverb, “You will call out yourself and not be answered”. And so God, we pray today that you would help us to open our ears to the cry of the poor. Help us to see the poor around us. Help us to hear the cries of the poor around us. And help us to respond to the cries of the poor around us. Help us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Help us to use the resources that you have entrusted to us for the good, not just to our own lives but people around us, particularly the poor around us. Help us to care for the poor, we pray, like you care for the poor. Oh God, may this be so. Yes. Yes, in the sense because we want you to hear our cries. But, oh God, we want our lives to be a reflection of your love for the poor, of your attentiveness to the poor, of your care for those who are poor. So God, may it be so in us. Keep us, we pray. Keep us from closing our ears to the cry of the poor today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.