Proverbs 28:3

A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

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Poverty does not make men charitable, noble, or virtuous. Solomon observed poor men being cruel and stingy to other poor men, which he considered a perverse practice. And he saw also poor men given authority or riches becoming merciless tyrants in abusing their power over former peers. This is vanity and insanity. He, who ought to remember his former state and show tender kindness, grinds the poor instead for his arrogant greed.

There is no virtue in poverty. In fact, poverty generally indicates a base mind, foolish heart, and/or lazy body. All other things being equal, the reason one man is poorer than his neighbor is due to a foolish life. Apart from the overriding blessing or judgment of God, diligence and wisdom bring success, and slothfulness and folly bring poverty (Pr 10:4; 11:24; 12:24; 22:29). To believe otherwise is to make failure the reward of wisdom!

The purpose and profit of rain is to nourish the earth for growing food. And it does this wonderfully, when it falls gently and steadily. But when rain comes in a violent storm, it can easily wash away topsoil and the seeds contained in it by a flood of water. It can also flatten and soak growing plants and ruin them for food. In both cases, the very thing that ought to be for the profit of a field and its owner becomes a cruel and destructive force.

A poor man, whether still in poverty or given some authority or success, ought to have pity on his poor brethren. He should remember his previous condition. But it is a fact that poor men can be very critical of other poor men, which Solomon had observed in his study of human existence. If you exalt or honor a foolish poor man, you will likely create a monster that will trample on those that he should pity and protect (Pr 30:21-22).

Is your memory good? Or do you despise those that are what you were? Father, do you pity children by remembering your folly at their age? Businessman, do you recall difficult days in your career enough to comfort those having them now? Supervisor, are you compassionate to employees, having been one last year? Student, can you pity a younger sibling as he struggles with what confused you a few years ago? Grandparent, do you remember past difficulties and help your children or grandchildren facing them now?

Christian, you were the poorest of the poor. Depraved, destitute, and damned! You were a criminal destined for hell. But Jesus Christ gave His life to redeem you from sin and death and make you a child of God with an eternal inheritance. Glory! Can you remember your vile history and the great forgiveness you were freely given and forgive those who sin against you (Matt 18:21-35)? Or are you like a sweeping rain leaving no food?

The Lord Jesus Christ went from the poverty of a lowly carpenter’s son to the Prince of the kings of the earth (Rev 1:5). Does He remember and pity you in your weak condition and hard trials? Indeed! (Ps 103:13-14; Heb 2:17-18; 4:14-16.) David wrote of Him, “He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain” (II Sam 23:4).