Government is not a friend to the poor
Our church runs a food programme for the poor and homeless. Before the locations we currently serve, we operated Downtown Atlanta. The official Downtown homeless population was about 4000 – even though we knew that number was 3 times higher, based on our experience. At the time, there was one official place the city had designated for servicing the homeless. That is where different charity organisations would provide assistance for those indigent people.
However, the shelter could only hold about 300. In warm weather that was fine, but during the winter that was a problem. Because of lack-of-shelter, many homeless people freeze-to-death on the streets of Atlanta. When the government shut the doors of that shelter four years ago, freezing death during the winter skyrocketed. There was an instance where 11 people froze to death in that city (Matthew C. Cardinale).
With the closure of the place, the people started to sleep in parks and in flimsy tents around the area. In short order, the government made it illegal to feed them around city property and charged the police with removing any homeless tent or make-shift shelter erected by the homeless. In addition, charity organisations were threatened with arrest if they attempted to feed in those areas.
Oakland, California has an even higher homeless population than Atlanta, and Los Angeles has more than 60 thousand people living on the streets. Yet, there is little effort among state and local governments to alleviate poverty or provide a way out of the streets. In 2020 during Covid, the US spent $86 billion on food assistance. That number seems high, but when you consider ten times that amount was spend on the military, $886 billion in that same year, and you wonder where the priority lies. Is it people or guns? Why would governments spend more on killing people than saving lives?
God had a similar problem of reversed priorities with Israel. God said in Eze. 16:48, 49, As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done (referring to apathy and idolatry). Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. This is no different to what is transpiring in wealthy countries today. Why should the richest country on earth have so many people living under bridges? There is more than half a million homeless in the USA with 70% being young adults and children. We can see here that the same apathy that existed during the Reign of Sodom and Israel-of-old is on display today.
Civil society lies to the poor all the time
Civil society is no different in the way it reacts to the poor – their plan is devilish in its origin. Isaiah 32:7. As for the scoundrel—his devices are evil; he plans wicked schemes to ruin the poor with lying words, even when the plea of the needy is right. They show you something good, but the end is bitter.
Society lies to the poor all the time. They bait you and then they switch. John 8: 44. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
The lies of society come in the form of baiting and switching:
Example: Politicians use the poor people to get in power but serve the wealthy when they have power. Many say education is the vehicle-for-success, but the cost of borrowing for education is so high that the average poor person with a degree spends his lifetime with the burden of the repayment saddled around his neck. You pay into a retirement plan, but by the time you are about to enjoy it you are two feet away from your grave. You contribute all your life to the Social Security fund, but many politicians call your Social Security benefits an entitlement. The banks now charge poor people for banking services but in turn charge a second interest if the poor want to borrow their own money. The law pretends to serve society’s needy, but when a poor man steals a car, it is deemed ‘grand theft auto’ and goes to prison for 15 years. Politicians such as Paul Manafort, the former president campaign chair, stole millions from the US government and only spend 47 months in prison. It is the devils plan, and his schemes are designed to prey on the poor and the weak through lies and deception.
Private companies, systematically oppress the poor
Amazon work hours are so rigid for workers in its warehouses that many do not even get bathroom breaks and resort to peeing in bottles right at their workstations (FastCo). That is so common in the warehouses that managers frequently mention it in emails (Ken Klippenstein 2021). They frequently underpay workers and blame the payroll software. Doctors’ notes for sick leave often disappear and workers are fired so that those hours are not paid (Kelly, Forbes 2021). A one trillion Dollar company owned by the richest man on earth, who send people into space cannot fix a human resources system which would only take a few programmers – mistakes that has become habits rather than omission? Not that they can’t fix it, they just do not care for poor people. So, what is a poor person to do when overpowered by trillion-dollar companies and the massive power of governments?
God will fight against the Devil
Exodus 14:14: The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” The bible shows that giants do fall: Freddie Mac fell, Enron fell, and Citi fell from its lofty place. Bezos and Amazon can fall as well. It may not always feel that way, but there is more that is with us, than they that are against us. The past patriarchs, in the face of adversity did not rely on human strength. They prayed, “Give us help oh Lord, for vain is the help of man.” Poor people who come up against those mighty powers only have God as a resort. However, for God to fight our battles, we need to be part of his plan. We need to accept his will and way. If we seek first the kingdom of God, he will fight our battles against all opponents.