Proverbs 21:12-14

The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked;
he overthrows the wicked to their ruin.
The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor,
he too will cry out and will not be answered.
A gift given in secret subdues anger,
and a bribe given secretly subdues strong wrath.

I find something very interesting in this group of proverbs. As you may recall, the book of Proverbs is Solomon’s observation on the way things are. A lot of confusion has come to pass because people have believed that what is contained in this book are promises. We’ll get that a little more in the future, but that ought to change the way you read this book.

Solomon was given wisdom by God because he asked for it instead of gold. So, Solomon was given a gift to observe life as it happened around him and these are the things he noticed. The proverbs that are written down are the things that he saw and how the world around him works.

As you keep that in mind, that makes some proverbs really stand out. And that’s what happened for me today with this proverb: “The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and will not be answered.”

I think it’s easy for us to take a lot of the verses in the bible that talk about caring for the poor and helpless and hopeless as a recommendation. We know we should do it, but we don’t. So, when we come across verses we might feel guilty about them for a bit, but eventually we move on and forget about it. We feel a little stir of guilt when we see someone who is struggling and we don’t help, but once they’re out of our sight, the guilt goes away. And even though we’re supposed to do these things, and we’re told we need to be serving others, we ignore the commands and move on with our life.

But this proverb is different. It’s different because it’s not a command, it’s an observation of the way things are. So, instead of the usual command followed by guilt feeling that we get from other verses about caring for the poor, this is an observation of what happens to us when we shut our ears to the cry of the poor.

What is it that happens when we ignore the cry? When we cry out, our cry will also be ignored. When we are in a position when we need help, we will not be able to get it if we have not been helping others. If we have not created a lifestyle of being a helping and caring person, we won’t receive the help we need when we need it. If we do not have a lifestyle where we help those around us, rich or poor, then we won’t have help when we need it either.

This isn’t a promise, or a prediction of bad things to happen on your life, it’s an observation of the way thing are. Helpful people get helped. No doubt you’ve made the same observation in your life. If you are helpful to the people around you, then when you need help you’re a lot more likely to receive the help you need. However, if you never help, but always ask for help then chances are you’ll burn through the help bank pretty quick and find yourself needing help but having no one willing to offer it. You’ve burn through all your help reserves and until you store more back up, you’re on your own.

Helpful people get helped. Need help? Help others and store up your reserves.