“He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well. ‘Is not this to know me?’ declares the Lord.”
– Jeremiah 22:16
So Jeremiah 22:16 is part of prophecy addressed specifically to the sons of Josiah. So it’s talking about King Josiah, who, if you’ll remember in scripture, sought the Lord at an early age and uncovered the Book of the Law and called God’s people to repent and to obey it.
And God blessed Josiah, his reign, and the people under his reign. And so this is talking to those who came after Josiah, looking back, and specifically addressing how he, Josiah, judged the cause of the poor and the needy. “Then it was well.” In other words, it is good to judge the cause of the poor and the needy. To work on behalf of the poor and the needy. To do good for the poor and the needy.
Jeremiah 22:16 Asks the Question, Do We Know God?
And then God says, “Is not this to know me?” Did you hear that? To know God is to judge the cause of the poor and the needy. To work on behalf of the poor and the needy. This is what it means to know God. At least part of what it means. An essential part of what it means to know God is to work on behalf of the poor and the needy.
So all of that leads to the question in our lives, our families and our churches. Do we know God? Are we working in our lives and our families and in our churches on behalf of the poor and the needy? We need to ask this question, and examine our hearts and our lives, and our use of money and our use of time. How much of it is given to the poor and the needy? Because this is what it means to know God.
And we have Biblical passages all across Scripture that reiterate this. You think about James 2. “What good is it if we claim to have faith, but have no deeds?” Specifically for those who are poor, who are hungry, who are not well fed. We say, “Go, we wish you well, keep warm and well fed,” but we do nothing about their physical needs. Our faith is empty. In other words, we don’t know God.
Praying for Us to Grow in Our Knowledge of God
Do you and I know God? Is our knowledge of God evident in our concern and care and commitment to work on behalf of the poor and the needy?
God, we pray that you would help us to know you truly, and specifically in this way to know you by working for the good of those who are poor and in need right around us. In the cities, communities where we live, God, we pray that you would help us as your sons and daughters, as your people, as followers of Jesus, to work on behalf of the poor and the needy around us.
Jeremiah 22:16 Prays that God Would Open Our Eyes
God, we pray that even now, you would open our eyes in fresh ways to how you’re calling us to know you by working on behalf of the poor and those in need. And God, for those far from us, we think about places in the world where there’s no clean water, or much food, or education, or medical care. God, we pray that you would help us to work on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are in places like that. And on behalf of people who have little to no knowledge of the Gospel in places like that.
As we look at data like we see at stratus.earth, and we see this collision of urgent spiritual and physical need around the world. God, we pray that our lives would count for your glory, for the spread of your love and your grace and your mercy in places like that. God, we pray continually on this podcast for places of urgent spiritual need in the world. People who have little to no knowledge of the gospel, who are unreached and in need of the gospel.
Praying for the Unreached in Japan
God, we pray today for the Miyako-Ryukyuan people of Japan. God, for this people-group in this largely unreached country, God, we pray for the spread of the gospel amidst urgent spiritual need across Japan, and specifically among the Miyako people-group.
Please, please, please, in this language, cause the good news of your love to spread. God, help us to live for your glory, for the spread of your love, amidst the poor and the needy, and in the process, to know you truly. Keep us, we pray, from supposed faith that turns a blind eye and a deaf ear to the poor and the needy when this is not to know you. God, help us to know you truly, according to your word in Jeremiah 22, verse 16, in Jesus’ name. Amen.