Food For Thought
“Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter…” Isaiah 58:7
If you ask the average Christian why
destroyed they will likely cite the story of Lot and his
visitors found in Genesis nineteen. Is that biblically correct? For sure, Sodom’s
version of the “Welcome Wagon” wasn’t a chorus line of cheerful citizens
singing “Getting to Know You” from The King and I. Forcible gang rape was
the welcome mat laid out for poor strangers (verse 5). Lot’s
offer of his two virgin daughters, another story in itself, demonstrates the
mob’s true intent. The girls were wealthy women, the type of people Sodom
wanted to attract. Their uncle, Abraham, was exceedingly rich. Along with three
hundred of his household servants, Abraham defeated the king of Sodom
(Genesis fourteen). Mess with his family, and Abraham was a force to be
reckoned with. Sodom’s sexual immorality
was infamous and labeled the reason for the city’s downfall. This didn’t help their cause, but it wasn’t the primary problem. Ezekiel, the prophet, brought this correction
to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
“Now this was the sin of your sister
she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help
the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable thing before me.
Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Ezekiel 16: 49-50 Sodom
Historical background from Josephus and the Chumash shed light on
dark side. Plain and simple, they were greedy. Sodom
was a prosperous city that welcomed those who added to the bottom line not take from it.
“To discourage newcomers, however, the Sodomites institutionalized state cruelty, so that it became a crime to feed a starving person or offer alms to a beggar. Even the sexual perversion for which
is notorious was employed to keep visitors
away.” Chumash Sodom
How does NYC fit into this picture? As a closet urbanite living in the rural South let me state for the record, I love
and other major metro areas. Big cities for me are exciting and energizing.
I’ve highlighted NYC but it, including others like my hometown Philadelphia, are
falling prey to Sodom’s mistakes. In
March of this year www. newyork.cbslocal.com posted this story. Over a twenty
year period, Glenn Richter collected and distributed two tons of food to
shelters throughout the city. One morning Glenn received surplus bagels from
Ohav Zedek synagogue. To his surprise the shelters refused the food. Why? Glenn
couldn’t provide the salt, fat and fiber content of the bagels. NYC passed a
law prohibiting food donations in an attempt to “monitor salt, fat and fiber eaten by the homeless”. Food suitable
for purchase and consumption by those who could afford it was deemed unsuitable
for those who couldn’t!
For over two years my husband and I cooked and served a bi-monthly dinner to the hungry and homeless at our church in
We can’t recall anyone questioning the calorie or fiber content of the food.
There were a few complaints about the sodium level; it was too low. At times
our guests declined the meal based on personal preferences and tastes. They
were perfectly capable of determining what was best for them.
The law in NYC and other cities appears to me to be less about the health and welfare of the poor and more about chasing them away. Remove opportunities to get a meal and the hungry will have to go somewhere else, assuming they can afford to do so. If not, they can resort to crime in order to eat or starve; neither an acceptable solution. Fortunately, the level of physical violence the Sodomites perpetrated on the “undesirables” hasn’t become a standard operating procedure in our cities when dealing with those in need.
Sodom’s example of
outlawing assistance to the poor is cropping up all over our nation. God said
that He took note of Sodom’s
actions and personally repaid them. He is not a respecter of persons (Acts ). Will He overlook our same treatment of
those in need?
I’m not saying hellfire and brimstone is about to start falling.
“He who is kind to the poor, lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done”. Proverbs 19:17
Our nation is facing economic problems of global proportions. Countries, including our own, teeter on the brink of bankruptcy and governments keep printing more worthless money. The
is financially sound;
recession and depression proof. Perhaps some of the answers and resources
needed to solve our problems are withheld due to our treatment of those less
fortunate. This Thanksgiving, as Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials around
the nation, sit down to a holiday meal with all the trimmings, how many
individuals and organizations will have to choose between obeying the law or
feeding the hungry? That’s food for thought. kingdom
If you wish to read the article here is the link