“The poor” – those with minimal worldly possessions – are among the most frequently mentioned people in Proverbs. While the standard of poverty differs from one part of the world to another, we can consider the poor in this verse as anyone less fortunate that we are.
Here we read that things we do for the poor we actually do “to the LORD” and He will “reward us” accordingly. Jesus said a similar thing in His the parable of the sheep and goats (see Matthew 25:34-45).
While this proverb only focuses on the positive side of the ledger, the opposite is also just as true. When we don’t treat the poor well, the LORD also deals with us accordingly (see Proverbs 22:22-23).
Of course the verse is not suggesting that we lend in our modern technical understanding of that term – making something available to them and expecting it back, with or without interest. The idea here is to share some of what God has given to me with others who don’t have it. We do not expect them to pay it back, but we can expect God to honor and bless such activities in our lives.