Generous Justice, Tim Keller
Class #5. Justice and the Old Testament
From Chap. 2. Pg. 33-40
Keller points out three causes of poverty according to the Bible:
Oppression, including unfair courts (Lev. 19:15), mistreatment of the powerless by the powerful (Ex. 22:21-24), usury (Ex. 22:25-27), low wages or forced labor (Jer. 23:13-17), and the general trampling of the poor by the rich and powerful (Amos 8:4-6)
Calamity such as famine, drought, and illness that lacks health care. See 1 Kings 17:8ff
Personal moral failure as with laziness (Prov. 6:6-11), or lack of self-discipline as in the case of the drunkard (Prov. 22:19-21). Where there is judgment instead of justice, this last cause of poverty is often assigned as the over-riding factor rather than recognizing the influences of the two previously mentioned causes.
How can the church address all of these causes?
Take note on pg. 34-35 that these causes of poverty often are interwoven, making the solution to poverty complex. Keller concludes, no one factor-government programs, public policy, calls to personal responsibility, or private charity-is sufficient to address the problem
Because poverty stems from societal, natural, and spiritual problems, justice must be sought through social, charitable, and spiritual means.
In his conclusion to his survey of the Old Testament and Justice, Keller recognizes that in calling for one kind of sacrifice for the rich and another kind of sacrifice for the poor (Leviticus 5:11-13), God’s grace is accessed can be accessed by all. “Even in the seemingly boring rules and regulations of tabernacle rituals, we see that God cares about the poor, that his laws make provision for the disadvantaged. God’s concern for justice permeated every part of Israel’s life. It should also permeate our lives.” ((pg. 40).