Deal thy bread to the hungry - But this thou canst not do, if thou eat it thyself. When a man fasts, suppose he do it through a religious motive, he should give the food of that day, from which he abstains, to the poor and hungry, who, in the course of providence, are called to sustain many involuntary fasts, besides suffering general privations. Wo to him who saves a day's victuals by his religious fast! He should either give them or their value in money to the poor. See Isaiah 58:6.
That thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house "To bring the wandering poor into thy house" - πτωχους αστεγους, Septuagint; egenos vagosque, Vulgate; and מטלטלין metaltelin, Chaldee. They read, instead of מרודים merudim, הנודים hanudim . מר mer is upon a rasure in the Bodleian MS. The same MS. reads ביתה bayethah, in domum, "into the house." - L.
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry? - The word renderd ‹deal‘ (פרס pâras ), means to divide, to distribute. The idea is, that we are to apportion among the poor that which will be needful for their support, as a father does to his children. This is everywhere enjoined in the Bible, and was especially regarded among the Orientals as an indispensable duty of religion. Thus Job Job 31:16-22 beautifully speaks of his own practice:
If I have witheld the poor from his desire,
Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;
Or have eaten my morsel myself alone,
And the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;
If I have seen any perish for want of clothing,
Or any poor without covering; -
Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade,
And mine arm be broken from the bone.
And that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house - Margin, ‹Afflicted‘ Hospitality to all, and especially to the friendless and the stranger, was one of the cardinal virtues in the Oriental code of morals. Lowth renders this, ‹The wandering poor.‘
When thou seest the naked - This duty is also plain, and is everywhere enjoined in the Bible (compare Matthew 25:38).
And that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh - That is, from thine own kindred or relations who are dependent on thee. Compare Genesis 29:14; Genesis 37:27; where the word ‹flesh‘ is used to denote near relations - relations as intimate and dear as if they were a part of our flesh and blood Genesis 2:23. To hide oneself from them may denote either, first, to be ashamed of them on account of their poverty or humble rank in life; or, secondly, to witchold from them the just supply of their needs. Religion requires us to treat all our kindred, whatever may be their rank, with kindness and affection, and enjoins on us the duty of providing for the needs of those poor relatives who in the providence of God are made dependent on us.
[Portion of a sermon delivered in the St. Helena Sanitarium chapel, January 23, 1904, and appearing in Notebook Leaflets, The Church, No. 7.]
The Lord desires every one of us to be decidedly in earnest. We cannot afford to make a mistake in spiritual matters. The life-and-death question with us is, “What shall I do that I may be saved, eternally saved?” “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life—a life that measures with the life of God?” This is a question that it becomes every one of us to consider carefully.… 1SM 98.1Read in context »
The sin of one man discomfited the entire army of Israel. A wrong course pursued by one toward his brother will turn the light of God from His people until the wrong is searched out and the cause of the oppressed is vindicated. God requires His people to be tender in their feelings and discriminations, while their hearts should be enlarged, their feelings should be broad and deep, not narrow, selfish, and penurious. Noble sympathy, largeness of soul, and disinterested benevolence are needed. Then can the church triumph in God. But just as long as the church suffer selfishness to dry up kindly sympathy and tender, thoughtful love and interest for their brethren, every virtue will be corroded. Isaiah's fast should be studied and close self-examination made with a spirit to discern whether there is in them the principles which God's people are required to possess in order that they may receive the rich blessings promised. 3T 519.1
God requires that His people should not allow the poor and afflicted to be oppressed. If they break every yoke and release the oppressed, and are unselfish and kindly considerate of the needy, then shall the blessings promised be theirs. If there are those in the church who would cause the blind to stumble, they should be brought to justice; for God has made us guardians of the blind, the afflicted, the widows, and the fatherless. The stumbling block referred to in the word of God does not mean a block of wood placed before the feet of the blind to cause him to stumble, but it means much more than this. It means any course that may be pursued to injure the influence of their blind brother, to work against his interest, or to hinder his prosperity. 3T 519.2
A brother who is blind and poor and diseased, and who is making every exertion to help himself that he may not be dependent, should be encouraged by his brethren in every way possible. But those who profess to be his brethren, who have the use of all their faculties, who are not dependent, but who so far forget their duty to the blind as to perplex and distress and hedge up his way, are doing a work which will require repentance and restoration before God will accept their prayers. And the church of God who have permitted their unfortunate brother to be wronged will be guilty of sin until they do all in their power to have the wrong righted. 3T 519.3Read in context »
Self-righteousness not only leads men to misrepresent God, but makes them coldhearted and critical toward their brethren. The elder son, in his selfishness and jealousy, stood ready to watch his brother, to criticize every action, and to accuse him for the least deficiency. He would detect every mistake, and make the most of every wrong act. Thus he would seek to justify his own unforgiving spirit. Many today are doing the same thing. While the soul is making its very first struggles against a flood of temptations, they stand by, stubborn, self-willed, complaining, accusing. They may claim to be children of God, but they are acting out the spirit of Satan. By their attitude toward their brethren, these accusers place themselves where God cannot give them the light of His countenance. COL 210.1
Many are constantly questioning, “Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before Him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil?” But “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:6-8. COL 210.2
This is the service that God has chosen—“to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke, ... and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.” Isaiah 58:6, 7. When you see yourselves as sinners saved only by the love of your heavenly Father, you will have tender pity for others who are suffering in sin. You will no longer meet misery and repentance with jealousy and censure. When the ice of selfishness is melted from your hearts, you will be in sympathy with God, and will share His joy in the saving of the lost. COL 210.3Read in context »
After relating the parable, Christ said, “The children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.” That is, worldly-wise men display more wisdom and earnestness in serving themselves than do the professed children of God in their service to Him. So it was in Christ's day. So it is now. Look at the life of many who claim to be Christians. The Lord has endowed them with capabilities, and power, and influence; He has entrusted them with money, that they may be co-workers with Him in the great redemption. All His gifts are to be used in blessing humanity, in relieving the suffering and the needy. We are to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the widow and the fatherless, to minister to the distressed and downtrodden. God never meant that the widespread misery in the world should exist. He never meant that one man should have an abundance of the luxuries of life, while the children of others should cry for bread. The means over and above the actual necessities of life are entrusted to man to do good, to bless humanity. The Lord says, “Sell that ye have, and give alms.” Luke 12:33. Be “ready to distribute, willing to communicate.” 1 Timothy 6:18. “When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.” Luke 14:13. “Loose the bands of wickedness,” “undo the heavy burdens,” “let the oppressed go free,” “break every yoke.” “Deal thy bread to the hungry,” “bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.” “When thou seest the naked, ... cover him.” “Satisfy the afflicted soul.” Isaiah 58:6, 7, 10. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15. These are the Lord's commands. Are the great body of professed Christians doing this work? COL 370.1
Alas, how many are appropriating to themselves the gifts of God! How many are adding house to house and land to land. How many are spending their money for pleasure, for the gratification of appetite, for extravagant houses, furniture, and dress. Their fellow beings are left to misery and crime, to disease and death. Multitudes are perishing without one pitying look, one word or deed of sympathy. COL 371.1
Men are guilty of robbery toward God. Their selfish use of means robs the Lord of the glory that should be reflected back to Him in the relief of suffering humanity and the salvation of souls. They are embezzling His entrusted goods. The Lord declares, “I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against ... those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right.” “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed Me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed Thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse; for ye have robbed Me, even this whole nation.” Malachi 3:5, 8, 9. “Go to now, ye rich men, ... your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you.... Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.” “Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton.” “Behold, the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.” James 5:1-3, 5, 4. COL 371.2Read in context »