We have all heard stories of the oppressive who are rich. God condemns this kind of behavior. But when a poor man does the same - it is an even greater sin because the poor man should know better being among the lowly himself.
Proverbs describes this man as a driving rain which leaves no food. The rain described here is one that is a deluge - a true drenching storm. It is described as being a "driving" rain. The word here means something that sweeps things away. It is rain that is so heavy and strong that it literally washes all the crops in an entire field away. It leaves nothing behind, completely destroying all that is in its path.
The poor man who oppresses the lowly is best described in the parable of the debtors. Matthew 18 tells this parable of two men who owed money. One owed millions to the king - and there was no way of paying it back - even in a hundred lifetimes. When the king pronounced judgment upon him for his debt, the poor man begged for mercy. The king then acted with unimaginable mercy - forgiving the man every penny of his debt. It is one of the most poignent displays of mercy in all of Sripture. But what did the poor man do with this mercy and newfound freedom. The Word tells us that he went out and found a fellow lowly servant who owed him about 50 to 100 dollars. The fellow servant begged too for mercy - and asked for a little time. He promised to pay it all back. But the forgiven servant then grabbed the other by the throat and cast him into the prison till he was paid all that was owed to him. Indeed, this was a case where the poor was oppressing the lowly. When the other servants heard of this, they informed the king - who then called the poor oppressor to account. He was told that having received mercy - he should have shown it to others. Having been forgiven, he should have forgiven others. The end of the oppressing servant was to be thrown into prison and handed over to the torturers until every cent was repaid of his debt.
This proverb does speak to us about the need for reciprocity in showing mercy. If we are the poor - we of all people should have great patience with the por who are around us. To oppress them is like being a driving rain that washes away everything. If there cannot be mutual grace among the lowliest of people, what is left. But there is a greater reminder given to us here. It is the reminder of the spiritual lesson before us. Just like the poor man in the parable, we need to forgive as we have been forgiven. We are the poor in spirit - the spiritually devastated and bankrupt. God has shown us astounding mercy in forgiving our sins and giving us His unmerited favor. Oh, how we should be ready to show that same mercy and grace to others - the ones around us just as poor, just as spiritually bankrupt - as an example of our Father's love. To do otherwise is to be a driving rain that leaves nothing behind. It is to offer no hope of forgiveness and grace among the lost. Our message is also to be our example. By God's grace - when we show grace - we will verify grace - thus offering grace to those who need grace. Don't be a driving hurricane that leaves nothing behind - be a gentle rain that waters so that fruit can be borne to God - fruit that will last - and thus our Father will be glorified.