Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court,
23 for the Lord will take up their case
and will exact life for life.
How can one rob the poor? Why bother to crush the afflicted? Why bother, even if one is wicked, to do what brings no gain? Perhaps there is a robbery and an affliction that occurs by ignoring the plight of the poor and the afflicted. Concerning the commandment not to steal, the Larger Catechism contends this means we are to “endeavor, by all just and lawful means, to procure, preserve, and further the wealth and outward estate of others, as well as our own.” The poor and the afflicted are the class of people least likely to be given consideration. For we condemn them for the ills they have brought on themselves or else are embarrassed by them. As there may be no gain in robbing the poor or crushing the afflicted, so we do not see gain in helping those who “won’t help themselves” or those who have given up in despair.
We need to take note of the class of people that Scripture time and again says God is on the side of. We need to do some soul-searching, because God evidently is quite willing to search our souls about this. He is taking sides. He becomes the pleader of their cause. He is not an indifferent judge on this matter. Indeed, he is ready to judge us according to our response to them. Whose side do you want to be found on?
Hasten, O God, to save me;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
2 May those who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
3 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
turn back because of their shame.
4 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”
5 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Lord, do not delay.