The wisdom of God regarding the poor

‘Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.’ – Leviticus 19:9-10

Notice how wise God’s law was regarding the poor: it provided for the poor, limited the burden on the non-poor, in the context of love of God and neighbor…

Providing for the poor

God provided food for the poor by commanding those with fields and crops to leave the gleanings of their grain in their fields. This would be an abundance of food, and all it took was your own unskilled labor to gather it.

By making the gleanings available to the poor to harvest for themselves rather than specifying that some of the harvested grain simply be taken from those with fields and crops and distributed to the poor, God’s provision also protected the poor from being ruined by a welfare state. It was an embodiment of the rule, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Limiting the burden on those with land and crops

Notice that these landowners did not have to give up their best, but only the gleanings—the leftovers. It was not burdensome to leave the corners and the gleanings for others.

Love of God and neighbor

The wealthy had a responsibility toward the poor. The poor had responsibility of their own. The division of the burden was balanced and full of wisdom.

This entry was posted in civil government, general equity, honoring God's Word, love your neighbor, money, Old Testament, providing. Bookmark the permalink.

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