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“Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.

This is one of my favorite verses on how we should respond to those in need around us:

Jeremiah 22:16 (In context “He” is referring to King Josiah of Israel)
“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?” declares the LORD.”

Here is some thoughts on the verse:

  • It says we are to come alongside the poor and defend THEIR cause.  We are not to come in with our own causes in an attempt to “fix” their problems.  We are to come and first listen to what they want and be co-laborers, co-dependent in reaching the solution. (This ain’t easy and it isn’t a widely taught ministry model)
  • It says that “all went well” when this happened. This is linked to another passage in Jeremiah, 29:7 “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.”  The Isrealites were to invest into the city as a whole, not just their own Jewish, ethnic subculture.  Ministry must be wholistic.
  • Then the Lord says: “Is that not what it means to know me?”  To know God is to be in relationships with people across socio-economic divides and to be an advocate for the poor (defending their cause in conversations, in the court rooms, by volunteering for organizations, etc.).  Many people truly don’t know God fully.