Missiology Through Scripture – Psalm 12:5

“‘Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the Lord; ‘I will place him in the safety for which he longs.’” – Psalm 12:5

In this lament David is focused on how the words of Yahweh are healing while the words of man can be painful. Amidst the difficult times the eternal promises of God give hope to his people. God holds a special place in his heart for both the materially and spiritually poor. To oppress the poor provokes God to action. Only the wicked would dare to oppress the poor and God’s pledge to defend the oppressed is intended to stir confidence. When the week are near despair and ready to submit to domination the God of the elect is at his most domineering and protective of his children.

Those who lack a true understanding of their spiritual depravity are the poor in spirit. The poor in spirit are also those who do not understand how obeying God and submitting to his son are required to be free from punishment for their sins. Augustine wrote, “For so the Lord Himself in the Gospel pitied His people, because they had no ruler, when they could well obey. Whence too it is said in the Gospel, ‘The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few.’ But this must be taken as spoken in the person of God the Father, who, because of the needy and the poor, that is, who in need and poverty were lacking spiritual good things, vouchsafed to send His own Son.”[1] Keeping the truth of Christ from those who do not have a saving relationship is a horrible oppression of their spirit. When we do not take the truth to the lost, we are the ones who have plundered the spiritually poor. Honor the Lord and feed his beloved poor with his gospel.


[1] Augustine of Hippo, “Expositions on the Book of Psalms,” in Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. A. Cleveland Coxe, vol. 8, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series (New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888), 44–45.