Do Not Look at His Appearance

Handshake

After God had rejected Saul as king over Israel, He sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint one of the sons of Jesse to be the next king. Before God indicated that Jesse’s youngest son David would be chosen, Samuel assumed that his oldest son Eliab would be the Lord’s choice.

When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, ‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:6-7).

David was “a man after [God’s] heart” (Acts 13:22). Yet Samuel, having never met any of these men previously, did not know the heart of David, Eliab, or any of the others. He was passing judgment and making assumptions based upon what these men looked like. God indicated to Samuel that this was the wrong way to evaluate their worthiness to lead God’s people.
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“The Poor Have the Gospel Preached to Them”

Jesus teaching

The common perception by people – from within the religious world and outside of it – is that churches are charitable organizations designed to help the poor. Denominational churches spend much time, energy, and money helping the poor. Those who are in need (or claim to be in need) often visit churches seeking a handout.

We are certainly to be concerned for the poor (Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 4:28; James 2:15-17) and, as we have opportunity (Galatians 6:10), help those with legitimate needs (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:10 – “If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either”). Yet the Lord’s church is not a charity. He did not design or ordain it to be one. Instead, He designed and ordained the church for another purpose that is far more important than mere benevolence.

When John sent some of his disciples to find evidence that Jesus was the promised Messiah (Matthew 11:2-3), one of the proofs that Jesus cited was that “the poor have the gospel preached to them” (Matthew 11:5). Jesus did not mention feeding the poor, clothing them, or giving them money. Instead, the proof offered to John’s disciples for Jesus’ identity was the fact that the poor were taught the good news of salvation.
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"Leave Them for the Needy" (2/19)

Thought from today’s Bible reading from Leviticus 19-21.

Sadly, helping the poor is a contentious issue in our society. It is not so much that people do not want to help the poor – most good, moral people want help to be provided. The issue is over how to best help the poor and whether this help should come from individuals, churches, charities, or government agencies.

The Law of Moses contains a way to help the poor and the stranger among the people. While we do not live under the same Law or with the same circumstances, there are principles that should help us determine how we can best help those in need.
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“Give Me Neither Poverty Nor Riches”

Homeless

If we were able to make two requests that would help to improve our lives here on the earth, what would those requests be? Agur, the wise man to whom Proverbs 30 is attributed, told us what his two requests were:

Two things I asked of You, do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is my portion, that I not be full and deny You and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or that I not be in want and steal, and profane the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:7-9).

The second request – the desire for “neither poverty nor riches” – is what we will focus on in this article.
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Does the Bible Promote Socialism?

Socialism is becoming more accepted in our society. Proponents of it are more open in advocating for it and it holds less of a stigma than it once did. However, there is still a large percentage of people that reject this political and economic philosophy – many of these are religious people. Those who promote socialism, if they want it to gain popular support, must find a way to convince these individuals of the alleged virtues of the system.
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The Flat Tax

Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Almost everyone has an opinion when it comes to the topic of taxes. Most would agree that paying taxes is necessary in order for one’s government to be able to function, but the rate and method of taxation is where you find many different opinions. One idea that some have suggested is a flat tax. This would require everyone to pay the same percentage of their income. As with any proposal, you will find people for and against the idea.

I certainly have my opinions about taxes, but that is not the purpose of this article. However, it is interesting that a sort of flat tax can be found in the Law of Moses. Yet this flat tax did not result in everyone paying the same percentage; instead, they all paid the same amount. Notice the instructions regarding the contribution for atonement:
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The Common Bond Between Rich and Poor

Rich and Poor

Our society tries to portray the rich and the poor as two completely opposite groups. Obviously, these groups differ greatly with respect to their possessions or income. However, the Bible speaks of a common bond between them that is far more significant than the differences between them.

The Proverb writer noted, “The rich and the poor have a common bond, the Lord is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2). In God’s creation, one economic class does not hold a superior status over the other. In fact, Peter told Cornelius and his household, “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10:34-35).
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