Proverbs 31: King James Bible
Righteously Plead the Cause – Daily Devotion of Proverbs chapter thirty one, Verse 9
9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Daily Inspiration from This Verse – Righteously Plead the Cause
Again, we’re getting instruction opposite to what some of us may have become used to. We’re being instructed to open our mouths rather than keeping it shut.
As we talked about in the previous devotional concerning when we should open our mouths on behalf of the dumb, the Lord doesn’t often promote our mouths to do much, unless it is just and righteous to do so.
This is one of those rare occasions the Lord is instructing us through the words of Lemuel’s mother, to open our mouths and promote what is right, sure, true, and just, in behalf of the poor and needy.
Open your Mouth
When we open our mouths, we often don’t consider it as doing anything, because they’re just words. However, the idea of opening our mouths being no big deal is only a recent step in the degradation of Biblical principals in society.
In an attempt to get through to us, the Lord goes to great lengths to teach us that words matter, the things we say have an impact, and to be careful of saying things that we won’t want to be held accountable for later on.
There is a time and a season for everything, and this includes when we should open our mouths in behalf of others. Sometimes we shouldn’t, others we should. This greatly depends on what’s going on, and whether or not the qualifier above is met (judge righteously).
To judge righteously is not an excuse to be judgmental, or to lay condemnation down upon the shoulders of someone else. We’ve gone over this time and again to understand the distinction between using good judgement versus being judgmental.
Something that should also be addressed, is the use of the word righteously. To judge righteously is not to judge self-righteously. There’s an enormous difference between the two.
Being self-righteous caters to what is right in our own eyes, whereas being righteous is an upright approach to the will of the Lord, or to be in right standing with the Father.
If you’re casting judgement on something that you think is okay but the Lord doesn’t, you’re judging in self righteousness. If you’re making a judgement call that is good with you because it’s first good with the Lord and in line with his Word, then you’ve judged righteously.
Plead the Cause of the Poor and Needy
We learn in Proverbs 29:7, that the righteous considers the cause of the poor, and the wicked don’t. What does it mean to plead the cause of the poor and needy?
Understanding would be a good start. Get an understanding of their conditions, their intentions, their advantages and disadvantages, the reasoning they’re in the position that they’re in, etc.. Understanding aids in many ways, and will often present mini solutions that accumulate, rather than one sweeping motion of aid that will fix the problem.
Big Help can Equal Big Waste of Time
I recall a starving tribe in Africa somewhere… To give aid, an organization brought in seed to be planted for grain to make bread, but they ate the seed. Chickens were brought in along with livestock so they can breed and produce meat, eggs, and milk, for many years to come. But they ate the breeding chickens and the breeding livestock as well.
In the end, they remained a starving people, and all of this aid went for nothing in the long run. This attempt of a sweeping motion to solve a problem simply didn’t work. Much smaller steps along with a different approach was necessary.
- The people are starving, so first feed them. The “now” problems are always going to be larger than the future problems at the time. Nobody’s thinking of what they’ll eat in a month if they can’t see past today.
- Bring in people who know farming to plant the grain, while teaching local farmers to do the same. Along with this, share the knowledge of how to glean seed from the crops to grow more next season.
- Bring in enough chickens, turkeys, or whatever the fowl may be, to keep people satisfied until the breeders get to do their work. Involve the local government or police force if one exists in strength (I know this isn’t possible in some areas), to protect the food of the future.
- Do the same with the livestock. Bring forward enough cows (for example) to produce milk and meat to satiate the current appetites, and leave others alone and protected to keep reproducing.
- Try to keep people satisfied with the smaller, easier to reproduce items (eggs, chickens) while the larger and more time consuming things (livestock and planted items) are taking the required time to grow.
Every one of the broken down steps I just listed, could have a host of smaller ones under each category, to insure that the problem is solved one way or another, rather than dumping one large solution even with the best of intentions.
So, what in the world is my point?
The point I’m trying to make with that example above, is that it takes attention to details, and an understanding of who you’re dealing with, in order to prepare a course of action. This takes time, effort, at times resources, and care on the part of the one who is trying to help.
A wicked ruler or king would never take the time to get into the meat of the issue, but would rather eliminate the appearance of the problem. Problem elimination does not equal problem solving.
When the dog relieves himself on the kitchen floor, throwing a newspaper on top of it doesn’t make it go away. We know that’s how it works with little things, but why do we expect those rules to change for larger, more important things?
Lemuel’s mother is instructing him in the ways of a righteous king, not the wicked. Taking up the cause of the poor and needy is something that the Word of the Lord makes clear to be the will of the Father. It takes care, effort, wisdom, understanding, and a host of other things, to plead the cause of the poor and needy.
If it were to be us in his shoes, would we be willing t take all of that time and effort to solve the problems of the poor and needy? Let’s bring this thought home…
What about concerning your friends, family, or loved ones? What about your neighbors? And the toughest question… What about enemies and strangers? Would you volunteer so heartily as you know the Lord would will for you to do?
Prayer and intercession is always a good start, but not necessarily an end all.
Related New Testament Scripture
Matthew 25: King James Bible
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
John 12: King James Bible
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. 27 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
2 Corinthians 2: King James Bible
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place.
2 Corinthians 7: King James Bible
12 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you.
Thank you for your wisdom and your insight, as we traverse through your Word. Help us all to use this verse and incorporate it into our daily lives. May we all become more charitable toward the poor and needy, in ways that are obvious, and also in ways that are not so obvious to us. Help us to recognize opportunities to help out others, whether it be our loved ones, strangers, or enemies. May your will be done through each of us, your children. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.
Are you willing to plead the cause of the poor and needy?