The Bible has repeatedly stressed the obligation of the believer to aid those who are in need.
SOCIAL JUSTICE: The Bible has repeatedly stressed the obligation of the believer to aid those who are in need. The purpose why the Lord provides for us is for personal sustenance, and to help others who need it. When we only use our income for personal gain, then we are moving into social injustice. We are not doing our part to contribute to society. Even when the bible stressed this obligation to help the less fortunate, there is no specific term for it.
Tzedakah is something the Rabbis adopted to apply to charity, in the context of social justice.
Tzedakah’s literal meaning is “righteousness” or “justice,” as in the famous biblical phrase, “Tzedek, Tzedek, tirdof” (“Justice, justice, shall you pursue”; Deut. 16:20). Charity is not merely a generous or magnanimous act.
For the Israelites, giving is the performance of a religiously mandated duty to provide something to which the needy have a right. By providing the chance to carry out an important mitzvah, the poor man gives the giver more in accepting the alms, than the giver does for the poor man in giving him charity. How come? The poor man allows the giver to be blessed a hundredfold.
The blessings come according to the individual’s obedience to God’s divine laws and commands.
God determines who He is going to bless with wealth and who is going to be poor. He is the ultimate owner of all human possessions. The blessings come according to the individual’s obedience to God’s divine laws and commands. Understandably, the one who has faith in the Lord would obey, and be blessed. On the other hand, the one who doubts the Word of God would ignore His commands and would find himself in lack. A person who believes in the Lord should be willing to give whatever he or she has to fulfill the divine will of the Lord.
Leaning towards social justice:
There is a need to consider the Jewish view of charity. Christians focus on charity as motivated by the love for fellow human beings. The Jewish view is more realistic and leaning towards social justice. They believe in giving to those who need help and doing it because it is right — as they have the resources and they have the need.
It does not mean that Jewish ethics have no concept of love or philanthropy. Instead, they believe in going above the requirements of the law, as an act of lovingkindness. As in the last chapter, there are different kinds of givers. Aspire to be the generous giver and set apart a portion of what God has given to you to bless others.
A Divine Attribute
Having the tzedakah spirit, or a philanthropic spirit is a divine attribute since God upholds the cause of the fatherless and the widows (Deut. 10:18). If God does so, then the one who gives to those who need it partners with the Lord. Giving to the poor is regarded as an essential element of the righteous life. It is not enough to simply fast and do your devotions. What good is that if there is no fruit?
Action must back up your faith. Action reveals the faith of the person.
The prophet Isaiah castigated those who fast and do nothing afterward. He is telling the believers to fast and share their bread with the hungry or take the poor into your home. Action must back up your faith. Action reveals the faith of the person.
The Prophet Ezekiel (16:49) prophesied about the destruction of Sodom because of its lack of charity: they “had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” King Solomon talked about the noble wife giving generously to the poor, her hands being stretched out to help the need (Prov. 31:20).
Here’s another passage that is interesting, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full” (Prov. 19:17). How amazing is this Word? When you are generous, it is the Lord whom you are lending to, and it is also the Lord who would pay you back in full. King Solomon also wrote to do what is right (tzedakah) is more desired by the Lord than sacrifice (Prov. 21;3). The Lord values the one who goes beyond what the Law says.
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