Kindness to the poor is a loan to the LORD, and He will repay the lender.
I. THE WORTH OF INTELLIGENCE.
1. It is self-conservative (ver. 8). We all love our own soul or life in any healthy state of body and mind. We all want to live as long as possible. It is natural to desire to live again beyond the grave. Then let us understand that there is no way to these ends except that of intelligence, in the highest and in every sense.
2. It is the source of happiness. (Ver. 8.) The truth is very general and abstract, like the truth of the whole of these proverbs. It does not amount to this - that good sense will in every case procure happiness, but that there is no true happiness without it.
II. SOME MAXIMS OF INTELLIGENCE.
1. The sorrow that falsehood brings. (Ver. 9.) It is certain. Many a lie is not immediately found out in the ordinary sense of these words; but it is always found in the man's mind. It vitiates the intelligence, undermines the moral strength. The rest must follow in its time - somewhere, somehow.
2. Vanity stands in its own light. (Ver. 10.) Those who have given way to over weening self-esteem and arrogance of temper - like Rehoboam, or like Alexander the Great, or Napoleon - become only the more conceited and presumptuous in success. The opposite of vanity is not grovelling self-disparagement, but the sense which teaches us to know our place.
3. The prudence of toleration and of conciliation. (Vers. 11, 12.) Socrates was a noble example of these virtues in the heathen world. We who have "learned Christ" should not at least fall behind him. To bear our wrongs with patience is the lower degree of this virtue. Positively to "overcome evil with good" stands higher. Highest of all is the Divine art to turn persecutors into friends (1 Peter 2:19; Matthew 5:44, sqq.).
4. The arcana of domestic life. (Vers. 13, 14.)
(1) The foolish son. "Many are the miseries of a man's life, but none like that which cometh from him who should be the stay of his life." "Write this man childless" would have been a boon in comparison.
(2) The tiresome spouse. Wearing the heart that is firm as stone by her continual contentions.
(3) The kind and good wife. No gift so clearly shows the tender providence of God.
5. The inevitable fate of idleness. (Ver. 15.)
(1) It produces a lethargy in the soul. (Ch. 6:9, 10.) The faculties that are not used become benumbed and effete.
(2) Thus it leads to want. Although these are general maxims of a highly abstract character, still how true on the whole - if not without exception - they are to life! "He that will not work, neither let him eat."
6. The wisdom of attention to God's commands. (Ver. 16.)
(1) To every man his soul is dear; i.e. his life is sweet.
(2) The great secret, in the lower sense of self-preservation, in the higher of salvation, is obedience to law.
(3) Inattention is the chief source of calamity. In the lower relation it is so. The careless crossing of the road, the unsteady foot on the mountain-side seems to be punished instantly and terribly. And this is the type of the truth in higher aspects.
7. The reward of pity and benevolence. (Ver. 17.) Sir Thomas More used to say there was more rhetoric in this sentence than in a whole library. God looks upon the poor as his own, and satisfies the debts they cannot pay. In spending upon the poor the good man serves God in his designs with reference to men. - J.
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord.I. THE GREAT STRESS WHICH THE SCRIPTURES LAY UPON PITY FOR THE POOR. That man must be a cursory reader of the Bible who does not see that it pervades the Bible. The old dispensation is full of it. In the new dispensation it is brought out still more prominently.
II. WHY IS SO GREAT A MASS OF THE LORD'S PEOPLE FOUND AMONG THE POOR? If wealth would have been their blessing, wealth they would have had. God would have this manifested by them — that He considers these things in themselves as nothing. Some part of the mystery is to answer Satan's accusations. And it is for the trial of the grace that is in His people.
III. THE MOTIVES URGING A GOOD MAN TO SHOW PITY TO THE POOR. He "lendeth to the Lord." Here is a payment spoken of. The Lord is a bounteous giver.
(J. H. Evans.)
I. MAN'S DUTY TOWARDS THE DESERVING POOR. "He that hath pity on the poor." Two things are implied concerning this pity.
1. It must be practical. The text speaks of it as lending to the Lord. It is pity, therefore, that gives, that does something to relieve distress. The pity that goes off in sentimental sighs, or goes no farther than words, saying, "Depart in peace, be warmed, be filled," is not true pity — the pity that God demands for the poor.
2. It must be genuine. The words imply that the pity is "accepted of the Lord." He takes it as a loan; therefore it must be genuine. The service rendered is from right principles. There is a large amount of charity shown to the poor which is inspired by motives abhorrent to Omniscient Purity.
II. GOD'S INTEREST IN THE DESERVING POOR. God's interest in the poor is shown in three ways.
1. In the obligation that is imposed on the rich to help them. He denounces all neglect and cruelty of the poor. "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness and his chamber by wrong, that useth his neighbour's service without wages." Again, "Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker." He inculcates practical sympathy for the poor (Exodus 22:21, 22; Exodus 23:9; Leviticus 19:33; Leviticus 25:35; Deuteronomy 10:19; Deuteronomy 24:19; Proverbs 22:22; Isaiah 1:17-23).
2. In the earthly condition into which He sent His Son.
3. In the class from which He selected His servants.
III. THE DIVINE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF SERVICE TO THE POOR. "And that which he hath given will He pay him again." Every gift of genuine piety to the poor is a loan to the Lord, and a loan that shall be paid.
2. It will be acknowledged in the day of judgment. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
I. II. III. (R. Newton, D. D.) (George Lawson, D. D.)
II. III. (R. Newton, D. D.) (George Lawson, D. D.)
III. (R. Newton, D. D.) (George Lawson, D. D.)
(R. Newton, D. D.)
(George Lawson, D. D.)