Be Merciful To The Poor

“‘King Nebuchadnezzar, please accept my advice. Stop sinning and do what is right. Break from your wicked past and be merciful to the poor. Perhaps then you will continue to prosper.’”

Daniel 4:27 New Living Translation

As Daniel interpreted God’s warning contained in the dream, he was concerned about what would happen to King Nebuchadnezzar and advised him on how he may avoid the punishment foretold in the dream. Daniel pled with him to change his ways and stop sinning. The specific attitude Daniel points out is Nebuchadnezzar’s treatment of the poor. In addition to his reputation of being a great administrator and builder of his kingdom, Nebuchadnezzar was also known as a ruthless leader. Throughout the book of Daniel, we see incidents where he was prone to have fits of rage when things did not go as he planned. This also appears to have manifested itself in a disregard for the most vulnerable members of his kingdom. If Nebuchadnezzar hoped to avoid the punishment foretold in the dream, Daniel advised him to change his attitude toward the poor.

Our heart attitude toward God often manifests itself in how we treat and view those who are less advantaged than us. All people are made in the image of God. Therefore, if we treat the poor with contempt or take advantage of them, we are guilty of showing contempt toward God. Jesus makes this point very clearly in His “Parable of The Sheep and The Goats” when He warns His hearers that their disregard for the most vulnerable of people around them demonstrates a disregard for Him. How we treat those who are oppressed and disadvantaged speaks volumes about the state of our hearts before God. God will not allow a person or a nation to prosper forever if they disregard the poor.

Lord, help me to remember that we are all made in your image and how I treat those who are most vulnerable represents how I view you. Keep my heart humble.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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