Why did the Lord repeatedly express such great concern for the plight of the needy in Israel and warn Israel in no uncertain terms of his great wrath and vengeance to those who afflicted the needy and who did not help them (e.g. Ex. 22:22-24)? At the basis of the Lord’s special interest and care for the needy and oppressed is the fact that he, the Lord, had once led Israel out of the bondage and oppression of Egypt and had claimed them as his own precious possession, his covenant people.
The Lord never waited for extreme needs to develop before taking action. The detailed legislation shows how in many and various ways the poor and needy were constantly to be remembered and provided for. The extreme needs and hardships that did develop were due to disobedience to God’s law.
God’s gift of the office of deacon and the blessings associated with it may not always be fully appreciated, especially in congregations that are financially prosperous and do not have many materially poor in their midst. However, as this book hopes to demonstrate, the importance of the diaconate goes far beyond simply providing for material needs. In order to get a proper understanding of the significance of this office, we must consider it within the context of the entire Bible.