Proverbs 19:17 – Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed. (ESV)
During the last few days of August and the first week of September 2015, we have seen dozens of reports of refugees from Syria and Iraq escaping their war-torn countries. We have seen them trying to cross the sea from Turkey to Greece and from Libya to Italy, and the terrible results when so many people are crowded into rickety boats or rubber rafts. Thousands are walking hundreds of miles, others are packed into trucks. A large number died of suffocation in an abandoned truck on the side of the highway in Austria. We have seen hundreds trying to get onto trains in Hungary hoping to get to Germany or beyond. All these scenes were shown so often that we kind of got used to it. Then on September 3rd we saw the picture of the body of a little boy found on a beach in Turkey, his brother and mother also having perished when the boat they were in capsized. And so it goes on … and has, for several years now. People are trying to escape their homeland because of the terrible situations there; millions are living in camps in Jordan and Lebanon, some for years, hoping to be able to return home. We are unable to visualize or comprehend the scale of the situation.
Meanwhile the leaders of the countries which the refugees are trying to reach are holding many meetings, the United Nations organization offers little or no support, and politicians in some countries are trying to make political gains for their party or themselves. Because of bureaucratic holdups, millions are suffering.
There are a number of passages in the Bible which tell us what to do with the poor.
Leviticus 25:35-36 – If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. (NKJV)
Matthew 25:34-40 – Then the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me." Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?" And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." (NKJV)
Many of us make donations through various church and parachurch organizations. Others are more directly involved. It is our hope and prayer that changes will come about both in the countries from which the people are fleeing as well as the countries they are trying to get to.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, as we are witness to the terrible plight of some of the people in the Middle East, we pray that a change will come. We pray that there will be peace and that there will be the political will to help these poor people. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Sweet Hour Of Prayer" (Lyrics)