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Compassion By Design – Proverbs on Justice

Proverbs 21:3 - To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than

Compassion by design is a statement of accessibility to the poor.

In our hearts (emotional attention)
In our wallets/purse (financial resources)
In our heads (intellectual privileges)
When your breaks for the poor and the broken your perspective of life changes…
Proverbs 19:17

My connection with others is more likely to be found in my weaknesses than in my


Lemuel means belonging to God

My son…you belong to me
Son of my womb…you came from me
Son of my vows…you were promised by me

A good poriton of proverbs is dedicated to words of wisdom directed to would-be kings or

high court officials…people in government.

So it’s appropriate for a mother to give her son, king

Why us?
No one here is a king? Anyone here name Lemuel (Le Muel)?
I think she is talking here about the appropriate use of power, resources, and authority.
Husbands, parents, employer, supervisor, manager, teacher, administrator, leader in this
church, soccer mom.

All of these positions come with a responsibilty to rule and to lead well. Even though you
don’t hae a formal title, but some do have a particular influence that can be used to the
good of others or used to the good ourselves.

Two things that will undermine your authority.

Vs 3 – sexual immorality (these verses are not speaking to celibacy) Bruce Waltke …
“the threat of women”

One Days Wage

Let us manage our affairs so wisely to be able to provide well for family and stranger. In
this way, public concerns and private matters come together.

As children of the king we are to call for the responsible use of power and authority,
serving not our own interests or those who can benefit us, but rather pursue the
interests of those who will not have anything to give in return.

Wisdom and King Lemuel’s mother are concerned that we will seek our own pleasure and
pad our houses and then whatever is left over to can go to the needy. I don’t think
wisdom and momma are saying drinking is morally wrong because it’s effects on the
nurological system. She’s concerned about how carried away our excessive habits will
impact that other major artery to heart; our financial system.

Proverbs 31:19-20 links wisdom’s occupation with compassion for the poor. Is it possible
that our jobs are to position us to be better advocates for those in need? Whether those
positions be executive or entry level our ability to do justice for ones on the job or on the
street are present before us. In the same way, Paul encouraged believers that work with
their hands to have something to share with those in need, a practice he himself held
(Eph 4:28; 1 Thes 2:6-12; 2 Thes 3:6-15)

Why have we so often assumed that taking care of our own excludes taking care of the
stranger? Or for me to put it personally…why do so many pour themselves out in
ministry to the neglect of their families?

Compassion is a focus of mercy in response to an immediate need. Justice addresses and

resolves the systemic issues that prevent a socieety from being healthy – issues like
education, access to quality health care, clean water, effective governance, economic
sustaninability, and spiritual viatality – the key systems of a healthy society ( dave
gibbons outreach mag jan 2010)

Isaiah 58:6-8 A new anthem for a generation of Christ followers

Proverbs on Wealth and Poverty

- God blesses the righteous with wealth

- Foolish behavior leads to poverty
- The wealth of fools will not last
- Poverty is the result of injustice and oppression
- Those with money must be generous
- Wisdom is better than wealth
- Wealth has a limited value

Proverbs 10:4 Lazy people are soon poor, hard workers get rich.

Proverbs 6-6-11
Though laziness is the most commonly cited reason for poverty, other reasons are given
as well. One of these is over-indulgence, which Proverbs 21:17 describes: Those who
love pleasure become poor; wine and luxury are not the way to riches.

Another reason for poverty is oppression of the poor – especially by those who are
already rich.
A person who gets ahead by oppressing the poor or by showering gifts on the rich will
end in poverty. Proverbs 22:16

So being frugal is one avenue to wealth right? Not exactly…Proverbs 11:24 Give freely
and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.

When observing someone in poverty, the wise person will study the situation before
coming to any conclusions about causes or solutions. To do otherwise is to fall into the
trap of Job’s friends.
One thing a wise person might find is unfairness: Proverbs 13:23 A poor person’s farm
may produce much food, but injustice sweeps it away.

In keeping with the form of proverbs, the injustice is not made specific. Perhaps it is a
crooked landlord. It may be a thief who steals the produce, or a government official who
confiscates the farmer’s goods. The proverb simply expresses a principle that may then
be applied to other walks of life. The point is clear: this poverty is not the result of
laziness but of forces beyond the person’s control.

How do we help the poor?

1) Don’t look down on them Prov 14:21

2) We have a responsibility to assist our own needy 1 Tim 5:4,8

- Single Parent family Fair

3) Hear their cries Prov 21:13

Friend, you know there are a lot of Bible verses regarding why our prayers may
be bouncing off the ceiling. We pray and pray and we don’t get any answers.
We say: What’s wrong here. God says: Your prayers are blocked. When we
are at odds with our spouses, God says your prayers are blocked. When we are
living in sin, God says your prayers are blocked. When we shut our eyes and
close our ears to the cry of the poor, God says your prayers are blocked.
Well, Lord, I want you to hear my prayers. God says: Well, then you be the
answer to the prayers of the poor.

You don’t have to be a bleeding heart card carrying liberal

to care for the poor

Who are the poor today in our relevant society?

- the uninsured
- the homeless
- the unborn
- the hungry
- the prostitute

The poor find honor in the book of proverbs

Prov 16:8 Better to be poor and godly than rich and dishonest.

The poor in the most important sense are equal with the rich
Prov 22:2 The rich and poor have this in common: the Lord made them both

Proverbs is simpethic to the poor – mindful specifically of their needs as a group

Proverbs The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all

The king in particular is urged to care for the poor, in fact doing so brings blessing Prov
29:14…but the common folk receive this blessing from God as well when they care for
the poor…Prov 28:27 Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing. But curses will come
on those who close their eyes to poverty

Be responsibly generous…Proverbs 6:1-5 is typical of a major strand of teaching in the

book that warns against giving loans to a friend who is in debt.


I like what Mother Teresa said in her book, No Greater Love, which we have
copies of in our bookstore. She said:
Poverty doesn’t only consist of being hungry for bread, but rather it’s a
tremendous hunger for human dignity. We need to love and be somebody for
someone else.
The world today is hungry not only for bread, but hungry for love, hungry to be
wanted, to be loved. They’re hungry to feel the presence of Christ. In many
countries people have everything except the presence of Christ and an
understanding of Christ’s love.

Why should we help someone in need?

 caring for the poor leads to blessing and eternal reward
SLIDE – Prov. 22:9
9 The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the

poverty is not a political issue; it is a human issue. He doesn’t spend

a lot of time trying to figure out who is to blame for people being poor. He says:
We are all responsible to help – the government, business, non-governmental
organizations and the church. We’re all responsible to find solutions.
Why don’t we help despite the many commands in the Bible to help the poor?
Because we say:
I am only one person.

Why don’t we help despite the many verses in the Bible commanding us to help
the poor?
I don’t need a plan or a budget.
Here is the problem of intentionality. A budget, whether your own family budget,
or the national budget, is a spiritual document. Many years ago I heard someone
say: I can tell you in five minutes what you really care about by just examining
your checkbook and Day-Timer. What a convicting statement.

Friends, do the
poor show up in your checkbook?

1) Read…Same Kind of Different as Me
2) Get to know someone in need
You know, we stop speculating about the reasons why the poor are poor when
you actually know someone who is poor, homeless, or living on a fixed income,
who are working hard to meet ends meet, yet still can’t afford medical attention
for their children or for themselves. Find out how you, or you and your kids can
connect with someone in need in our community. Get to know someone.
3) Plan to give to the needs of the poor
Week by week I say to you at the end of the service: Put some money in the
boxes in the back for the poor. Start doing that. That money flows through our
Fruit Of The Vine ministry to purchase food and to assist our homeless friends
and working families who are seeking medical attention.
But I would say, friends, over and above that, whether you give to the community
center, or you choose to give to a mission this church is supporting, or you find
something outside of the church that is accountable and responsible with funds,
have the poor show up in your checkbook month after month.
4) Advocate for laws that help the poor.
Some of you can write letters to the Editor. Some of you can petition or call
congressmen and state representatives. Find out about the situation involving
the uninsured, the homeless, the hungry and the unborn and start getting
politically involved.
5) Do something

American Poverty – when someone has lost hope

It’s not just about money, I have nothing…I am nothing…I will have or be anything of
19,450 – federal poverty guideline
50% of that number make less than $10,000 a year
Proverbs 11:1
1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD,
but a just weight is His delight.

Proverbs 13:23
23 Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and
for lack of justice there is waste.

Proverbs 16:11
11 Honest weights and scales are the LORD'S; All the
weights in the bag are His work.

Proverbs 17:23
23 A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back to
pervert the ways of justice.

Proverbs 18:5
5 It is not good to show partiality to the wicked, or to
overthrow the righteous in judgment.

Proverbs 18:13
13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is
folly and shame to him.

Proverbs 19:17
He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will
reward him for what he has done.

Proverbs 19:28-29
28 A disreputable witness scorns justice, and the mouth of
the wicked devours iniquity. 29 Judgments are prepared for
scoffers, and beatings for the backs of fools.

Proverbs 20:3, 7
3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start
a quarrel. 7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children
are blessed after him.

Proverbs 20:10
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures, They are both alike, an
abomination to the LORD.

Proverbs 21:3
3 To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD
than sacrifice.

Proverbs 21:7
7 The violence of the wicked will destroy them, because they
refuse to do justice.

Proverbs 21:13
13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry himself and not be heard.
Proverbs 24:23-24
23 These things also belong to the wise: It is not good to show
partiality in judgment. 24 He who says to the wicked, "You are
righteous," Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him.

Proverbs 28:21
21 To show partiality is not good, because for a piece of bread a
man will transgress.

Proverbs 29:14
14 The king who judges the poor with truth, His throne will be
established forever.

Proverbs 29:26
26 Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice for man comes from the

Proverbs 31:8-9
8 Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are
appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead
the cause of the poor and needy.
Compassion By Design – Proverbs on Justice
Proverbs 21:3 - To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than

i. The problem of a bible with holes

ii. Who are the poor?

a. in scripture: the alien, the fatherless, the widow
b. today: the uninsured, the homeless, the unborn, the uneducated

iii. What does an old book (Proverbs) say about a modern problem?
a. Seven themes that address issues of poverty
1. God blesses the righteous with wealth
2. Foolish behavior leads to poverty
3. The wealth of fools will not last
4. Poverty is the result of injustice and oppression
5. Those with money must be generous
6. Wisdom is better than wealth
7. Wealth has a limited value
b. Justice is compassion by design – Proverbs 21:3

iv. Why should we help the poor?

a. because God identifies with the poor (Prov 19:17)
b. because justice identifies us with God (Prov 21:7)
c. because God won’t hear our prayers, if we don’t respond (Prov 21:13)
d. because caring for the poor leads to eternal treasure (Prov 22:9)
e. because we are instructed to advocate for them (Prov 31:8-9)

v. What keeps us from helping the poor?

a. our personal politics
b. our individual significance
c. our lack of intentionality
Proverbs 31: 1-9 Compassion by Design
"O my son, O son of my womb,
O son of my vows,
do not spend your strength on women,
your vigor on those who ruin kings.
"It is not for kings, O Lemuel—
not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
lest they drink and forget what the law decrees,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Give beer to those who are perishing,
wine to those who are in anguish;
let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy."

I. Intro – the problem of reading proverbs individually

a. Themes in Proverbs to the poor and wealthy
1. God blesses the righteous with wealth
2. Foolish behavior leads to poverty
3. The wealth of fools will not last
4. Poverty is the result of injustice and oppression
5. Those with money must be generous
6. Wisdom is better than wealth
7. Wealth has a limited value
b. King Lemuel – So isn’t this message geared towards people in power; politicians,
executives, administrators, etc? Why should the average person listen to these
words? Lemuel = belonging to God

II. Put character before conformity

Anyone in power has the ability to use their power for personal gain.

CS Lewis quote “I am democrat…”

i. Use your heart (vs 3-5) put internal character before external conformity
a. Why would she say such a thing? Or We share a common humanity with the
poor (Same kind of…)
1. The poor and wealthy share a common maker
b. Who are the poor?
1. in scripture: the alien, the fatherless, the widow
2. today: the uninsured, the homeless, the unborn, the uneducated
3. poverty is being several months behind on your rent, it’s being hungry, it’s
not having shelter

ii. Use your wallet (vs 6 and 7) put other people before personal profit/
give your best before you give your last

b. Be intentional about being able to help the poor

iii. Use your head (vs 8 and 9) put service before security
a. What if we had a justice league here at Heritage? Not that justice league…
b. What threatens our ability to serve?
1. Political party
2. Significance
3. Budget

What motivates you, who are not believers, to give?
- guilt conscience
- you recognize something is wrong

Why we Philippians 2:? “He did not count it robbery…”

- the greatest poverty is loneliness

Here is the gospel…the good news…that Jesus

iv. Communion transition (wine and bread join together)

a. We started the message talking about a King so let’s end there
b. King Jesus was the full embodyment of Proverbs 31:2-9
c. His final words to his disciples were remember me
d. the communion table is the place where the wealthy, represented by wine, and
the poor, represented by bread, come together. it’s a statement of community and
the oneness we share in proverbs…the poor and the rich have this in common, God
is the maker of them both.

being in a new family is so that my brothers and my sisters

best things to do with the best things in life is to give them away – Dorothy Day
Where is justice? Well, that's an easy question, justice belongs to the Lord and to Him
alone. The Word of God makes it strictly clear that we may not and can not determine
who is just and who is not. The book of Proverbs has many good themes to study; one of
these themes is justice. This wonderful book in the Bible contains a lot of information
about justice, but the most important thing to remember is that justice is God's.

Many verses in Proverbs say that justice belongs to the Lord. Proverbs 29:26 directly
states that a man obtains justice from the Lord. You cannot get much clearer than that.
Another verse that ensures us that God is the keeper of justice is Proverbs 16:5. This
verse says that the proud of heart will not go unpunished, because God knows when
people are being proud and he punishes them. These verses make me realize that our
God disciplines us, but he does it because He loves us so much. Just like fathers
discipline there children, our heavenly Father disciplines us for our own good.

So what should we do as sons of God in order to not disturb justice? Well Proverbs 21:3
tells us that we should do what is right and just, because the Lord considers this more
acceptable than sacrifice. This means that if we had a choice to sacrifice a lamb for God
or to treat someone justly, we should choose to treat that person justly, even if other
people do not think this way. Many people will believe you are a Godly person if you
sacrifice things for the Lord, but if hardly anyone will notice if you are treat others justly.
Even so, we should try to treat others with just as much as we can, because this is
acceptable to God. Proverbs chapter 24 verses 23 to 25 tell us that we should be just to
the guilty; meaning that if we announce that the guilty are innocent, then we will be
cursed by the people. It also states that if we convict the guilty of their wrongs, then rich
blessings will come upon us. Finally, in Proverbs 29:14, the author confirms us that if we
show others justice, we will always be secure and safe. These few verses give us an idea
of what the Lord wants us to do and shows us that the Lord will keep us safe if we do
these things.

Now that we know what the Lord wants us to do, what do wicked people do? As it reads
in Proverbs 17:23, a wicked man accepts bribes in secret to disturb the course of justice.
In other words, wicked people give into to bribes and by doing this, they are not being
just. Proverbs 19: 28 states another thing that wicked people do; they mock justice and
gulp down evil. However, in verse 29, it says that penalties and beatings are prepared
for them. These two verses show us what wicked people do, but then it shows us what
God does about wicked people. To wrap up what wicked people do to bring justice on
them, Proverbs 16:8: "Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice." I
think that this verse, even though it is short, has a huge message for us. It means that if
we only accomplish one little thing, but we do it with righteousness, it is better than
gaining a lot with injustice.

All these verses talk about justice, whether they talk about how justice is the Lord's, or
what God wants us to do, or what wicked people do. So to end this article, remember
that justice is the Lord's and he wants us to do things that are right and just. There are a
lot more verses' that talk about justice, so do more research about what Proverbs has to
say about justice