Father to the Poor

“I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out” (Job 29:16).

What was wrong with the religion of most Jews under the Old Testament Law? They observed their own traditions and forgot to consider the more important things like judgment, mercy, and faith. They surely ought to have followed such things as tithing, washing of pots and vessels and the offering of sacrifices, but not left the other undone (Matt. 23:23).

When the scribes and Pharisees saw Jesus' disciples eating without washing their hands, they were indignant. After all, the law said that a man was unclean after coming from the market and he should wash himself before eating (Mark 7:1-13). So what is so bad about being a strict adherent of the law? Shouldn't we obey all that we have been told to do? They claimed to do many good works such as giving large amounts to the temple, but they would not support their own parents in their old age. Even today members of the church should support family and extended family members (1 Tim. 5:4-16). Keep in mind that verse 8 says, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

But Job went beyond just what was expected of him. He sought out the cause of the fatherless and was father to the poor. When we see helpless children today who are neglected by selfish, ungodly parents, do we seek out their cause? Do we offer to be 'father' (or mother) to those needy children or to the poor? Do we see to it that they have nourishment and sufficient clothing, or do we just talk about how pitiful they are? Sometimes we are deterred from doing good to these children because we know the parents are actually taking advantage of us. But can the child be held responsible? Even if we cannot take them into our homes, we can at least find time to be with them and teach them the things about God that they need to learn. Feeding their souls as well as their bodies and searching out their needs should be our priority. Remember: it isn't just children who need a father. Many poor need someone to love and care for them and to protect them like a father would.

By inspiration, King David tells why Solomon was to be great. It was because he would judge the poor in righteousness (stand up for them). Read slowly and carefully Psa. 72:4-17. “He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor” (Psa. 72:4). Then after all the blessings are given in verses 5-11, the reason for his greatness is given again in verses 12-14. Finally verse 17 says it again, “His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.”

“He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor” (Prov. 28:8).

Beth Johnson

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The King James Version.

Published in The Old Paths Archive