GOD CARES FOR THE LEAST

"Praise the LORD. Praise, O servants of the LORD, praise the name of the LORD. Let the name of the LORD be praised, both now and forevermore. 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.4 The Lord is exalted over 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; 8 He seats them with princes, with the princes of their people. 9 He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the LORD." - Psalm 113 (NIV)

Do you sometimes wonder if God cares? Do you think, perhaps, that He is too big or too busy to bother with your problems or the needs of all the "little people" in the world? When Psalm 113 was written, most of the world's peoples believed in gods that did not care about the poor, especially poor women. They could be coaxed, through plenty of sacrifices, including the sacrifice of children, to be interested in providing rain or harvests or victory in war, things that helped the nation in the aggregate. The individuals that these gods had most to do with were the kings, priests and high officials or whoever had enough wealth to offer them rich sacrifices. The poor and those at the bottom of the heap had little hope of gaining a hearing from the gods.

That is what made the God of the Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, so unusual. He is described in terms that raise Him infinitely higher than the gods of the nations. After all, they emerge from the primordial chaos, as the modern Evolutionists suppose life emerged from non-life billions of years ago. But the God of the Bible is the great "I Am" (Exodus 3:14), the self-existent One who is "from everlasting to everlasting." (Psalm 90:2) Moreover, He is the Creator and Sustainer of all other things, visible and invisible. The God of the Bible is therefore infinitely higher than the multitude of conflicting gods and goddesses of the heathen who, though immortal, are certainly finite, capricious, selfish and fallible.

Psalm 113 makes it clear that God is, indeed, a very high order of being, so much so that He whose glory is "above the heavens" (verse 4) has to "stoop down" (verse 6) in order to look at the heavens and earth which He made! The heights of the earth and the heavens above that we strain our eyes and crane our necks to observe, are pictured in this psalm as lying so far below God that He must "humble Himself" (verse 6, KJV and NAS versions) to behold them. Of course, God is actually present everywhere (Psalm 139:1-12) so this metaphorical language is used by the psalmist to convey the idea the God is infinitely greater than everything that He has made. That being the case, it is all the more wonderful to realize that far from being aloof from His creation, His heart is sensitive and His ears attentive to the very least among His human creatures, the poor and barren women (verses 7-9).

To be a poor man or a barren woman meant, in those days, that your needs or desires were far from the hearts and minds of your betters in society, especially to those in places of power. But here the Psalmist says that God takes the poor and needy from the ash heap (the ancient equivalent of the dump) and places them among the princes. Moreover, He blesses the barren woman whose husband despises and has abandoned her and places her in a happy home filled with children. He is someone to whom the poor and rejected may cry for help and be assured of His compassion and willingness to intervene. This is not just a revelation of God's character but of His will for us. It is a reminder to the privileged and powerful that God is on the side of the poor and friendless, that they, the mighty, cannot hope for His favor, in the end, if they have been neglectful of "the least of these" His "brethren" (Matthew 25:40, 45).

So do not feel that God is far from you in your need for He delights in doing good to those who have little of this world's wealth and have no earthly hope of help. You are precisely the kind of person who especially elicits God's care and concern. As Mary, the mother of our Lord, said, "He has filled the hungry with good things and sent away the rich empty-handed." (Luke 1:53) All are equal before God and all are loved, but God can only help us when we are little in our own eyes and admit that we cannot get by without Him. The proud and self-satisfied may pat themselves on the back and pretend that they do not need God or that God favors them because of their success in the world but they are sadly mistaken. Yet even the "high and mighty" can become "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3) if they repent of their pride and realize their absolute dependence upon the favor and providence of God.

How wonderful it is to know that though God is infinitely higher than the highest heavens He has made that He is also very near to the lowest person on earth. If you feel right now that you are indeed among the lowest of the low, you can be sure that God 

cares for you and will, according to His perfect plan and timing, raise you up from the ash heap to place you among princes and from lonely barrenness to happy fruitfulness.