For he saves the needy who cry out,
the lowly who have no helper.
He cares about the poor and needy;
He brings the needy deliverance.
He redeems them from fraud and lawlessness;
the shedding of their blood weighs heavily upon him.
There's much talk about who's responsible for caring for the poor and needy in our nation. Most "political" conversation today has much to do with the poor and needy. Health care, immigration, abortion, all have direct connections with the issue of poverty.
It struck me today that in this passage from Psalms the king is lauded for caring for the poor and needy. He cares for them because the Lord has given him wisdom and understanding to do what is right and just. Because this king is righteous the psalmist asks God to bless him even more!
There is no question that the biblical narrative tells us again and again that we must care for those who are poor and needy. God's people are called to be about justice and righteousness especially as it relates to the least.
I am not saying that there is only one way to do this, one form of government, one type of economy, one approach. What I am saying is that we have a responsibility, a Christian duty to care for those who need it most. We care for them because we have been called to by God.
As we listen to the soundbites on television, watch our politicians argue, and get on the labeling bandwagon. May we not forget the poor, the marginalized, the hopeless who are in need of good news. May we not forget that those in government have a primary duty to govern for the common good.
This post originally appeared on February 11, 2001 at spiritstirrer.org, where you can follow the rest of the Bible in 90 Series.