Historical Context of “The Anawim”
Scripture makes a number of references to the Anawim. The word actually means the REMNANT, a fragmented people of the Exile, the specially favored in the period of great unfaithfulness. They are those who remained faithful to Him through all the hazards of the Exile, the poverty, the oppression, the mockery, insult and humiliation, even the attacks to life itself. Through all this the Anawim, God's faithful ones, were assured the hope of a day of vindication.
The prophet Amos was the first to speak of the Anawim. His times, like ours, were characterized by the deceits of materialism, sensuality and of hollow exterior worship. Amos called the people to repentance and a change of heart. He promised through the power of Yahweh there would be a remnant of Joseph who would stay faithful (5:15).
Mary and Joseph, of the New Testament, are ideal representatives of the remnant people. Both Matthew and Luke portray them as the truest Anawim witnesses to the Gospel. Their lives reflect total faithfulness and dependence upon God through what the world regards as the impossible, the hopeless, the futile. Their absolute trust in the power of God mysteriously brought forth Jesus. Their example assures us the same hope for today.