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SCRIPTURE: JER. 22: 13-17
KEY VERSE (16): “He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him. Is not this to know me? 
says the Lord.” 

If you want to know God you have to know the poor.

But don’t take my word for it: take the word of God.

In Jer. 22: 16, God himself was speaking of the charitable King Josiah when he said that the good king judged the cause of the poor and needy. Other translations say Josiah “defended” the poor and needy, but the fact remains that he cared for them and for that reason all was well with him.

And then, in what is quite a stunning statement from our Lord, he suggests that to know the poor and needy, to care for the poor and needy, is to know him, God Himself/Herself. It’s stunning because of our tendency to think of God in intellectual and emotional terms. We tend to think that to know God we have to have the right beliefs and practice the right spiritual disciplines such as prayer and worship, tithing and fasting and all that. For sure, there’s no knowing God in the fullest without knowing him in belief and spiritual practice.

But God tells us directly through the prophet Jeremiah that to know him is to know and remember and care for the poor. Even Satan and the demons have the correct beliefs about God (James 2: 19).

God is a relational God and God insists–demands!–that we be engaged in relationship with “the least” among us. Knowing the poor–befriending the poor and hearing their stories as opposed to shunning them or despising them–is the route to connection with God himself.

“Give justice to the weak and the orphan; maintain the right of the lowly and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
— Psalm 82: 3-4.

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