What the Bible says about Poverty: Jeremiah 22:16

Welcome! You’re joining in on the second in our blog series “What the Bible says about Poverty.” Last week we looked at Micah 6:8 and today we will explore a verse that shows how the message of Micah 6:8 played out practically in the way one Old Testament king ruled.

Let’s first look at the context around Jeremiah 22:16; for this you can read Jeremiah 22:13-17. In this passage, the prophet Jeremiah is rebuking King Jehoiakim (king of Judah from 608 to 598 B.C.) for living an overly luxurious life while treating his laborers unjustly and not paying them their due wages. Next, he reminds Jehoiakim of his father Josiah’s success because of his righteous actions, saying:

He took up the case of the poor and needy, then it went well. Is this not what it means to know me? This is the Lord’s declaration. Jeremiah 22:16.

God doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to his commands to care for the poor and vulnerable populations (Psalm 82:3-4; Proverbs 14:31; Jeremiah 22:3; James 1:27; 1 John 3:17-18).  Let the gravity of this phrase really sink in: “This is the Lord’s declaration.” There’s no suggestion, no if you feel like it, no when it’s convenient for you.  God tells us here: When you’re in relationship with Me and seeking to know My ways, you will fight for the poor and needy.

Like we discovered last week, when we walk humbly with God and are in relationship with Him, we discover His heart and are transformed to reflect Him. His heart is so big for the oppressed that He says, if you aren’t actively seeking justice for the poor and needy, then you don’t really know Me. That’s a hard declaration to take in.

Perhaps you’ve never realized how serious God is about protecting the poor against injustice. If so, this week I want to challenge you: click on the links to the verses and take some time to reflect on his commands and let his Word sink into your heart.