Saturday, 31 October 2020.
Water-Filter and Wifi?
By: Ong Hwee Soo / 翁辉赐
Psalm 82: 1 – 4. (ESV) 1. God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2. “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?” 3. Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the right of the afflicted and destitute. 4. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
The Psalm opens with a scene of God holding court with the earthly leaders. The psalmist pictures God presiding in the assembly of world rulers and judges, who are conferred the honorific title ‘gods’ which is common in the Ancient Near East.
Here, we see the Supreme Judge giving judgment in the apex court against the corrupt judiciaries, and accuses the subordinate human judges, of the social injustices that violate the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 24:17-22).
In the Old Testament, a first-order task of kings and judges was to administer justice, and especially to protect the powerless.
The original word ’justice’ in Hebrew, ’misphat’, which means ’to give people their due’, has two sides to it. One is ’to arrest and punish wrongdoing’ and the other is ’to give people what they need’. This especially refers to ’the weak’, which is rendered ’the poor and needy’ ,in the KJV, NKJ and NLT versions, which is a more accurate translation here.
There are many categories of the poor in our society today: the rural poor, the urban poor, the blue-collar poor, the aged poor and so on. The prophet Zechariah echoes the concerns of the Psalmist: “Administer true justice, show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.” (Zechariah 7:9-10. NIV)
Today, my devotional is to consider the last two categories of the ’vulnerable quartet’ in the Zechariah injunction, namely, the migrant poor.
On 26 Aug, Pastor Wallace Ong wrote his devotional on Psalm 41:1, “Blessed is the one who considers the poor…” He explained the verse pointedly, “Blessed is he who sees a need, examines the complexity of the circumstances and thinks through how he could wisely bring about a successful solution in meeting the need.”
Bible commentator, Derek Kidner expounded, “The word consider is striking, in that it usually describes the practical wisdom of the man of affairs, and so implies giving careful thought to this person’s situation rather than perfunctory help.”
My Care Group (CG) had occasion to visit a refugee school where our five ‘adopted’ kids are schooling. During the visit, the principal confided with us the needs of the school. I compiled a list of the items needed and our CG Deaconess broadcast the list to our CG Leaders WhatsApp Group, with the information for their respective members.
The ‘First Respondent’ was someone from PBC who now works and resides outstation. He drove a long distance to deliver a computer to the school. Next, two sisters supplied fifty sleeping mats for the school hostel as before the kids had been sleeping on the hard and cold concrete floor. Then a mother and her son procured two printers for the school.
Following my 26th Sept Devotional on Psalm 68:1-5, entitled “Baker or Milkman?”, more ‘bakers’ and ‘milkmen’ made contributions. A CG couple, who has already begun sponsoring the entire year’s monthly fees for 20 of the pupils since the school reopened during the RMCO, has arranged for the installation of a water filter for the school.
A lady from another CG requested to visit the school along with her friend from another church, who has been reading PBC’s Daily Devotionals since its inception. Shortly after, the lady from PBC, procured Wifi equipment and paid one-year Wifi fees in advance. As for her friend, he told the principal, “I will consider the computer needs of the school, but first let me send an electrician to evaluate the adequacy of power supply to support the additional computers.” He has subsequently planned for his wireman to rewire the whole school, which operates out of an old house, after this CMCO and thereafter to contribute four computers to the school. Here are examples par excellence of people who ’considers the poor’.
Thanks to the kind souls who have simply responded to ’felt needs’ or have ‘considered’ the needs of the impoverished immigrants. However, some quarters queried, “If not all our local government schools have water filters or Wifi does this small refugee school deserve any better?”
Tim Keller observed three objections raised by many Christians when considering the poor. First, “my money is my own”. Second, “the poor are underserving”. Third, “the poor may abuse it”. In his book, ‘Ministries of Mercy’, he writes: “Many people today are very concerned that relief only go to the ‘deserving poor’. It is true that we must be sure our aid helps a person to self-sufficiency. It is also true that we are not obligated to care for the poor to the same degree that we are bound to help our needy Christian brother. However, we must be careful about using the word ‘deserving’ when it comes to mercy. Were we ever deserving of God’s mercy? If someone is completely deserving, is our aid really mercy?”
Jesus taught in the Beatitudes, _“Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” In His very first sermon, Jesus preached from the prophetic text in Isaiah 61. To prove He is the prophesied Messiah, Jesus begins by stating that He has come “to proclaim good news to the poor” (Luke 4:17-19). As we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, what good news are we bringing along to the poor?
PRAYER: Merciful Father, forgive us for the times when in considering the poor, our analysis has resulted in paralysis of inaction, instead of acts of kindness. Gracious Lord, help us to obey Your command, “You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:11), and not be tight-fisted, towards the poor. AMEN.
正义的希伯来原文‘misphat’ 意思是‘给人们他们应得的’，它有两个意思。 一是‘逮捕和惩罚做错的’，另一是‘给予人们他们需要的’。英文圣经KJV， NKJ 和NLT 版本比较正确的翻译为弱者，就是‘贫穷与有需要的人’。
在我们现今社会， 贫穷是有很多种类的：乡下贫穷，城市贫穷，蓝领贫穷，老年贫穷等等。先知撒迦利亚回应诗人的关切：‘要按至理判断，各人以慈爱怜悯弟兄。 不可欺压寡妇、孤儿、寄居的和贫穷人，谁都不可心里谋害弟兄。’（撒迦利亚7:9-10）
八月二十六日，王牧师以诗篇41：1 发表他的灵修，“为贫穷者思虑的有福了….”他清楚的解释，“那看见有需要， 察验事情的复杂性，思想他当如何可以有智慧的想出一个成功对症下药的方法的有福了。”
圣经评论员德里克基德纳（Derek Kidner）论述，“思虑这词常令人震惊， 它通常形容思虑之人的实际智慧， 他会很用心的仔细考虑当事人的处境，而不是给予敷衍的帮助。
第一位回应的是从PBC 来的，他现在任职并住在外地。他长途驾驶送了一台电脑给学校。接下来，两位姐妹提供了50个睡垫给学校宿舍，因之前孩子们都是睡在又冷又硬的石灰地。 然后一个妈妈和她的儿子买了两台打印机给学校。
从我九月26日以诗篇68:1-5 灵修题为“烘培师或是送奶工人?” 后， 更多的烘培师和送奶工人做出了贡献。从行动令解禁学校重开以后，一对已经捐献了一整年20个学生月费的关怀小组夫妇安装了一台滤水器给学校。
另一个关怀小组的一位女士要求能与另一间教会的朋友一起去探访学校， 这位朋友一直有在读PBC的每日灵修。不久之后，这位PBC的女士买了无线网络设备和预付一年的无线费用。 至于她的朋友，他告诉校长，“我会为学校所需要的电脑考虑，不过让我先差我的电工来评估电流供应是否充足给多余的电脑。”他之后也让他的电工给整个学校从新布置电线，这所学校是用一所旧房子运作的， 行动令解禁之后他也捐四台电脑给学校。这些都是“为贫穷者思虑”的杰出人物的例子。
感谢这些善良的人，回应‘有需要’ 或‘思虑’贫乏寄居者的需要。 不过，有些人质疑说，“如果连我们的地方政府学校都不是全都有过滤器或无线网络，那这小难民学校配得这些设备吗？”
提姆凯勒（Tim Keller）观察很多基督徒对帮助贫穷者的三个反对意见。 第一，“我的钱是我自己的”， 第二， “贫穷者应接不暇”， 第三， “贫穷者可能会滥用它”。 他在怜悯的事工这本书里写道：‘今天很多人都会担心救济是否能给予“真正应得的贫穷者”。我们确实是需要确保我们的援助能够帮助一个人自给自足。我们也确实没有义务去帮助贫穷者就像我们帮助有需要的基督徒弟兄那样的程度。 可是当我们论到怜悯时，我们一定要小心的使用‘ 应得’这个词。 我们是否应得上帝的怜悯？ 如果有人是完全的应得的话， 那我们的援助是否真是怜悯呢？
耶稣在八福里教导，“怜恤人的人有福了，因为他们必蒙怜恤”。在祂的第一个讲道中耶稣用以赛亚书61章的预言来传讲以证明祂就是那预言中的弥撒亚， 耶稣以 “传福音给贫穷的人”(路加4：17-19) 为开始。当我们把耶稣基督的福音传讲时， 我们也同时带了什么好消息给贫穷的人呢？
祷告 : 慈悲的父， 原谅我们在思虑贫穷的人时， 我们的分析见解使我们无所作为， 也不仁慈。亲爱的主， 帮助我们尊行祢的命令， “总要向你地上困苦穷乏的弟兄松开手”。 (申命记 15：11)， 让我们对贫穷的人松开手。 阿门!