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.
Those in charge of such a home should be men and women who are largehearted, cultured, and self-sacrificing; men and women who undertake the work from love to Christ and who train the children for Him. Under such care many homeless and neglected ones may be prepared to become useful members of society, an honor to Christ themselves, and in their turn helping others. MH 206.1
Many despise economy, confounding it with stinginess and narrowness. But economy is consistent with the broadest liberality. Indeed, without economy, there can be no true liberality. We are to save, that we may give. MH 206.2
No one can practice real benevolence without self-denial. Only by a life of simplicity, self-denial, and close economy is it possible for us to accomplish the work appointed us as Christ's representatives. Pride and worldly ambition must be put out of our hearts. In all our work the principle of unselfishness revealed in Christ's life is to be carried out. Upon the walls of our homes, the pictures, the furnishings, we are to read, “Bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.” On our wardrobes we are to see written, as with the finger of God, “Clothe the naked.” In the dining room, on the table laden with abundant food, we should see traced, “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry?” Isaiah 58:7. MH 206.3Read in context »
He Who Lives to Please Himself Is Not a Christian—“Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thine house? When thou seest the naked that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” How much of this hiding has been done! How many have closed the eyes and locked the door of the heart, lest a softening influence should prompt them to works of kindness and charity! The work of Christ never ceases. His tender love and goodness are inexhaustible; His mercy is over all the children of men. The Lord Jesus means that you shall be blessed in imparting to His needy, suffering ones. He has made men His copartners. “We are labourers together with God.” Has not Christ, by both precept and example, plainly taught us what we should do? We are to work, imbued with His Spirit, as we look to the cross, ready if He bids us, to leave all for His sake. He who lives to please himself is not a Christian. He has not been created anew in Christ Jesus. WM 309.1
The Christian feels that no other being in the universe has the claim to him which Jesus has. He is a purchased possession, bought by the costly price of the blood of the Lamb. He is to devote himself unreservedly to Christ; his thoughts, his words, and all his works are to be subject to the will of Christ.—The Medical Missionary, June, 1891. WM 309.2
Contentment Here and Eternal Reward Hereafter—In order to be happy, we must strive to attain to that character which Christ exhibited. One marked peculiarity of Christ was His self-denial and benevolence. He came not to seek His own. He went about doing good, and this was His meat and drink. We may, by following the example of the Saviour, be in holy communion with Him; and by daily seeking to imitate His character and follow His example we shall be a blessing to the world and shall secure for ourselves contentment here and an eternal reward hereafter.—Testimonies for the Church 4:227. WM 309.3Read in context »
We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted. We are to minister to the despairing, and to inspire hope in the hopeless. MH 106.1
The love of Christ, manifested in unselfish ministry, will be more effective in reforming the evildoer than will the sword or the court of justice. These are necessary to strike terror to the lawbreaker, but the loving missionary can do more than this. Often the heart that hardens under reproof will melt under the love of Christ. MH 106.2
The missionary can not only relieve physical maladies, but he can lead the sinner to the Great Physician, who can cleanse the soul from the leprosy of sin. Through His servants, God designs that the sick, the unfortunate, and those possessed of evil spirits shall hear His voice. Through His human agencies He desires to be a comforter such as the world knows not. MH 106.3Read in context »
There is a wide field of usefulness before all who will work for the Master in caring for these children and youth who have been deprived of the watchful guidance of parents and the subduing influence of a Christian home. Many of them have inherited evil traits of character; and if left to grow up in ignorance, they will drift into associations that lead to vice and crime. These unpromising children need to be placed in a position favorable for the formation of a right character, that they may become children of God. 6T 282.1
Are you who profess to be children of God acting your part in teaching these, who so much need to be patiently taught how to come to the Saviour? Are you acting your part as faithful servants of Christ? Are these unformed, perhaps ill-balanced, minds cared for with that love which Christ has manifested for us? The souls of children and youth are in deadly peril if left to themselves. They need patient instruction, love, and tender Christian care. 6T 282.2
Were there no revelation to point out our duty, the very sight of our eyes, and what we know of the inevitable working of cause and effect, should arouse us to rescue these unfortunate ones. If the members of the church would bring into this work the same energy and tact and skill that they employ in the common business relations of life, if they would seek wisdom from God and earnestly study how to mold these undisciplined minds, many souls that are ready to perish might be rescued. 6T 282.3Read in context »