Poor and Needy
May all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You! May those who love Your salvation say evermore, "God is great!" But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay!
There is quite a contrast in this psalm. "God is great." "I am poor and needy." All too often we get that wrong, turning it around to imagine that we are great, or at least very close to being so. While we may not actually think that God is poor and needy, we may think we are doing Him a favor by offering Him our worship and praise. Or we may at times prefer that He remain in the background until we really need Him. The sad fact of the matter is that we do need Him at all times, whether we are willing to admit it or not. Yet before we knew our need, before we were born, before He created the world, God determined to save us. He sent His Son, Jesus our Lord, who came to seek and to save the lost. We were poor and needy, lost in sin, but "while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
The Word of God reveals our need and, at work in the Word, the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We gaze into God's holy Law as into a mirror, as the Spirit shows us our sin: the wrong we do and the good we leave undone. The Word reveals our lack of righteousness and our status before God as fallen sinners. We recognize God's just judgment against sin; we know that death is the wage our sins have earned for us. But the Word of the Gospel reveals that the God who is great took it upon Himself to remedy our hopeless situation. God the Son became, in our place, "poor and needy." He took our sin onto Himself and hung in weakness and shame on the cross. He suffered the penalty of death that was God's just judgment against sin. Jesus gives us the righteousness that we, in our poverty, lacked. He gives us His own purity, His right standing before God. Through faith in Jesus' Name, we receive the inheritance due a firstborn Son, a wealth of glory that will be ours for all eternity.
"Hasten to me, O God." Through the death and resurrection of His Son, God rescued us from sin, death, and Satan, and still today our Lord stands ready to help us. He is ever-present with His mercy and forgiveness. He hears our prayers and hastens to us as our help and our deliverer. Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). We were poor and needy, but now by God's grace through faith in Jesus, the glory of the Kingdom is ours. These gifts are ours, not through our own efforts or achievements (we are not as great as we think!), but through the redeeming death and triumphant resurrection of Jesus, God's Son, who at the right time hastened to save us.
God our Savior, in every time of need, be our Help and our Deliverer. Amen.
Dr. Carol Geisler
1. Do you ever sense that you are "poor and needy" in respect to the things of God?
2. What adjectives would you use to describe God based on your own experience?
3. Do you ever assign God to the sidelines, preferring to tackle life's issues by yourself? When you see yourself doing that, what's your reaction?
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There is quite a contrast in this psalm. "God is great." "I am poor and needy."