In Pakistan, my friend MH had been reading the stories of Jesus for some time. Initially, he was angry at what he read (related to preconceived ideas he already had about Jesus). Then he became curious and often came to me to ask questions about things he did not understand. Eventually though he became amazed at what he was reading about Jesus, and would come to me excited about his new discoveries. I remember the day he came to me and said, “Jesus loves people just like me!” He explained, “Jesus loves poor and needy people.” He then quoted a number of verses including the following one, speaking of Jesus: He won’t brush aside the bruised and broken. He will be gentle with the weak and feeble. (TPT – Matthew 12:20 – a prophetic quote from Isaiah 42:3).
When we read Psalm 86, we realize that, among other things, the psalmist is saying that God is incomparable, (i.e., totally unique, matchless, without an equal, unrivalled). He says,
Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours. (verse 8)
For you are great and do marvellous deeds;
you alone are God. (verse 10)
But, in what ways is God incomparable? Well, there are many, but today let me concentrate on just one very important characteristic of our God by considering the psalmist’s description of himself. He says:
I am poor and needy. (verse 1)
Why pray to God and describe yourself in such a way? Presumably, because he felt that way due to the circumstances of his life, and why pretend? God knows anyway!
But there is more, and that is, (just like my friend MH discovered) he knew God cared for “the poor and the needy”.
Brueggemann writes: “Yahweh’s uniqueness lies … in his attentiveness to poor, needy, desperate persons.” (# 2)
Other psalmists unashamedly describe themselves in this way (e.g., 35:10, 37:14, 40:17 and 70:5). And why not, when we consider the following truth about our God:
The Lord is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the Lord our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap; (Psalm 113:4-7)
No wonder the psalmist prayed as he did in his distress:
1 Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3 have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
4 Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you. (86:1-4)
And, no wonder MH was attracted to this Jesus, who, among many other things, reflected the very image of this compassionate and kind God in all that he taught and did.
Do you sense that you are “poor and needy”? Then, like MH and the psalmist, tell God your story and seek his help. Cry out to Him, have mercy on me, Lord, and discover that He is a God who raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap.Remember, as MH discovered, He won’t brush aside the bruised and broken. He will be gentle with the weak and feeble.
Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. (Jesus – Luke 6:20)