• Jason Wade


22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, 23 for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.

Proverbs 22:22-23

A few years ago, I finally had the chance to watch a movie called the Case for Christ. It is the story of Lee Strobel who was a well renowned writer who at the time did not believe that God existed. So he took on a journey to try and prove that God did not exist. In the midst of his journey, he could only find evidence that God did exist and it completely turned his life upside down. What an amazing story of one man who had knowledge and the ability to learn more knowledge, and once he applied it to his life, the wisdom transformed his life. As we continue on this journey of wisdom together, I just wanted to invite you to begin asking the question of yourself, does God exist in my life? I know that I have knowledge that God exists, but has it affected my life in such a way that I have turned my knowledge into wisdom. Solomon continues to lead us into an understanding of how to live wisely today in our second saying on being wise, but we will get to that in a moment. I am asking you today, if you are able to apply the knowledge that you have about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in such a way that will transform lives? The Bible is filled with examples of how those who were following the commands of God both failed and succeeded. They were constantly searching for a way out of their situations, and the one thing that they failed to realize is that God was right there with them ready to champion their cause.

One of the biggest struggles I really do have as a leader and a Christian is watching those who know the truth and have the ability to know right from wrong, continue to choose wrong because of the sacrifice it will take to step into wisdom with Christ. The case we are truly talking about today is the ability for each of us to honestly respond to the TRUTH. Are we able to honestly profess that God is the Lord and Savior of our lives and take ownership of every aspect of our lives? Do we play this game every day to see if we can continue to fool the world through actions that are empty, or are we able to live out our lives as as testimony and a guiding light for those that are in need. I think that sometimes we will look at a

situation and already make a determination as to the status of this person's life. I think that many of us believe that there is only a certain way to be a Christian and if your situation or circumstance shows struggle or failure than many believe that God is not showing favor for that person. I remember in scripture an example where Jesus approached a man that had been blind since birth and the disciples were quick to ask the question, "Master, who sinned the man or his parents that he is in this situation?" Jesus quickly responded, "Neither. This man is here so that the glory of God can be seen through me on this day." WOW... what a powerful insight to the case for Christ. We are so quick to judge and define the situation, that maybe we truly miss the fact that God is trying to provide an opportunity for His power to be glorified and our faith to be strengthened.

As we look at the words of the Solomon today, I want you to really look at them from a new perspective. I hope and pray that we are not already trying to put a picture of who the poor and the needy are in our minds, but that we are able to see everyone as someone who can fit into that scenario. Solomon says, "Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life." As Solomon is speaking, I hope and pray that you see these as words of HOPE and JUSTICE. I pray that you see that God, through Solomon's wisdom, is teaching us to realize that in this world so many are in need of restoration from God. I hope you see that there are many in this world that are oppressed not by choice but by circumstance. Yes, I also know that there are many who choose to live into this lifestyle, but Solomon is reaching out to the followers of Christ to open their eyes and realize that it is not a check or a card that is needed to change the situation. Solomon is saying that we must be willing to find true connection in their lives and that the Lord will take up their case. If they are truly searching and seeking to move out of their circumstance, then God will provide what is needed, but the first thing that must happen is the relationship. We have so many who go and serve those that are in need and we have some that provide support physically and financially, and both are directed by God, but we must be willing to look inside and hear their story in order to truly make a connection. That was the example that Christ showed us through His life. HE went to where they were and met their physical needs, BUT he stayed around and recognized more their spiritual needs of connection that needed to be fulfilled.

As you look at the picture below, what do you see? Do you see people that are poor and in need? If you answered no, why?.... If you answered yes, why? I know that we have no knowledge of who these people are. I searched the internet and found this picture and I may or may not get an opportunity to meet one or all of these people. I don't know their story and I don't know their destination, but I truly believe that they can be both poor and needy. We must look with our hearts and pray over each person that we meet in hopes of connecting them with God. Their battles and our battles belong to the Lord, but the wisdom we must glean from today is that there are people all over the world that are in need. They

may be the richest of the rich or the poorest of the poor, but they are all in need. As we look in the mirror today, I hope and pray that we are able to see with the eyes of Christ. I pray that we recognize that there are people in this world-regardless of their status or position- that are in need of Jesus. The Case for Christ is the ability to take our knowledge and understanding of God's calling in our lives and apply it to a world that is fallen and living in darkness. For many of us we have been equipped to serve since we were a child through Sunday school, sermons, children's church, youth, vacation bible school, mission trips, camps, small groups... etc... There is no way that we have not been given the KNOWLEDGE of what we should do, the real question continues to rise is when are we going to apply this knowledge in our lives with our families, friends, strangers to fulfill our calling to "GO, and MAKE DISCIPLES! If you finally begin looking through the eyes of Jesus, you may just realize that the poor and needy may be in your house, your car, your neighborhood or your social group. I was always told never to judge a book by it's cover, but rather what is on the inside and what exudes out of them by the fruit they produce. There is a Case for Christ to reach the poor and needy.... those that are in need of clothes, food, connection, prayer, discipleship, and I could go on and on and on. I am just asking if we are all ready to take up the CASE and apply the knowledge that we have gained and GO OUT INTO THE WORLD AND SHARE CHRIST!

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