Poverty & Wealth Prov. 10:15 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
First of all when studying poverty and wealth you want to remember that this was written in the Old Testament. Things definitely change in the New Testament as concerning these matters of wealth and poverty, so we’ll try to make some distinctions in this lesson. However, there is a lot of practical wisdom here and there are some good spiritual applications, as well. We will begin by focusing on the riches first.
Riches are a sign of God’s blessings, particularly in the Old Testament (Gen 26:12-13, 13:2). In the O.T. when God wanted to bless a man He would give him an enormous amount of riches. In the N.T. God’s distribution of riches is a bit different. Jesus Christ is the man most blessed in the N.T., but He died with absolutely no earthly possessions on this side of glory. Paul was a very blessed Apostle of Jesus Christ, but he did not accumulate wealth during his lifetime. Yet, Paul had something that a lot of people today do not have, something called contentment (Phil 4:11). Contentment is far greater than wealth because wealth can’t give you contentment (Ecc 5:10, Luke 21:2-4). These men were certainly blessed, but they did not have riches as a sign of God’s blessing. Therefore, we learn that people who believe that they have to have prosperity today in order to see or show God’s blessings on their lives are mistaken. The idea of prosperity preaching is a mistake. God does pay bills (Luke 6:38), but there are people who give for the sake of getting rich because they think that they will get rich by their giving.
Riches are a defense against trouble, but often make one conceited (Pro 18:11, Ps 73:3-5). With riches a man can buy his way out of the trouble that would entangle a man without riches, but it cannot buy happiness or good health. Wealth can even be a hindrance to good health and to salvation (Ps 73:6, Mark 10:25, Ezek 28:4-5). If you want to increase riches you must distribute your riches and the picture of this is a man that farms (Pro 11:24). The more seed the farmer sows in the ground, the greater the harvest (1Tim 6:17).
Poverty, on the other hand, will never be eliminated (Matt. 26:11). Some people think they can throw money at poverty and make it go away. The truth is the money goes away while poverty remains and will continue to remain until Jesus Christ returns. Social programs to eliminate poverty in actuality only perpetuate it. Assistance programs to help people until they can get over temporary hardships are needed, but not programs that require no work and create permanent dependence for able bodied persons (Pro 16:26). If you are a Christian you do not have to worry about being on a permanent assistance program. As Christians we have promises that keep us from being destroyed by poverty (Phil 4:19).
The problem with some Christians is that they are not seeking the Kingdom of God first (Matt 6:33). God sometimes uses poverty to chasten such folks (Rev 3:17-20). In the Tribulation, after the Church Age, the saints are going to suffer terrible poverty because they will not be able to purchase goods without the mark of the Beast.
The LORD has a very different way of figuring wealth and poverty than the world does and the world cannot comprehend it (Pro 13:7). Today if you do not have much money but God’s taking care of you then you are doing just fine as long as you continue on with God’s work. There comes a time when the tables are turned, so do not worry about it. Just do what you can do and continue trusting God.