You may wonder, “If God loves me, then why does He allow me to be poor?” You may compare yourself to others who are better off than you, thinking that God must like them better than you. The truth is that God LOVES the poor. In fact, God’s own Son was poor. Jesus didn’t even possess His own pillow. (Matthew 8:20) The people who followed Him provided for His needs.(Luke 8:2-3) Just because you are poor is no indication that God thinks less of you than others.
Jesus said “Blessed are you poor.” (Luke 6:20) He says this because it is the poor who are more receptive to God and His word. People who have everything don’t always feel the need for God in their lives. The poor have only one way to go, and that is upward. The rich are cursed with the fear of losing their wealth. I have known people who have traveled to third-word countries on missionary trips, and they talked about how the people in these places are poorer than the poorest in the United States, and yet, they are some of the happiest and most generous and gracious people. God is very concerned about the poor and always has been since the beginning of time. Please read on to see what just how God cares for the poor and needy.
Causes of poverty
Sometimes, we are poor simply because we are born into poverty, whether it is our family, community, or even our country. However, we can also make ourselves poor by the following causes:
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep–so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler.” (Proverbs 6:10-11; Also see 24:30-34)
“…and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.” (Proverbs 23:21)
- Excessive love of pleasure
When we invest all our money into the pleasures and luxuries of life, we will fast run out of money.
“He who loves pleasure shall be a poor man. He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” (Proverbs 21:17)
“For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty.” (Proverbs 23:21)
“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!”(Proverbs 28:19)
- Refusal to learn from your mistakes
When you are too stubborn to surrender to God’s will and way of doing things, you refuse to grow and learn better. And until you learn to do better, to budget and invest wisely, you will remain poor.
“Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction…” (Proverbs 13:18)
God is concerned about the poor and needy
All throughout the Bible, you will find numerous scriptures and examples showing that God is quite concerned about the welfare of the poor and needy.
“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,’ says the Lord, ‘I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” (Psalm 12:5)
“Lord, who is like You, delivering the poor from him who is too strong for him, yes, the poor and needy from him who plunders him?” (Psalm 35:10)
God designed laws specifically to protect and provide for the poor
1.Under the Law of Moses in the Old Testament, God commanded the people to use portions of their tithing contributions to provide for those less fortunate. (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)
2. God cares about the working man, commanding that he not be overworked and that he be allowed time to go home and rest. (Leviticus 19:13)
3. God forbid the Israelites to charge loan interest on money, food, and anything else loaned to someone who has fallen on hard times because the interest would only make the person poorer. Wouldn’t it be nice if society followed this law of God today? (Leviticus 25:35-37)
4. God also commanded His people to not harvest the entirety of their crops but to leave some portions of them for the poor to harvest. (Leviticus 19:9-10) I noticed here that God does not command the crops be “given” to the poor, but that they were to be left for the poor to “work” at harvesting for themselves.
5. In the this day and time with our modern day social welfare programs, we may sometimes think we don’t have to help the poor since the government is helping them through our taxes, but according to God’s way of thinking, we should be individually helping others. What if we all followed after these verses in Leviticus and provided not just money, food, and shelter for others, but what if provided ways for the poor to work for his food? What if we gave poor people the opportunity to come and work in our gardens, on our farms, etc. in exchange for food? Maybe you don’t have a farm or garden. What do you have that can possibly offer a way to others to work for their food and other needs?
6. When a person fell on hard times and had to sell some of his property to survive, God gave them the opportunity to redeem that land after so many years during the Year of the Jubilee (Leviticus 25:25-30).
7. God forbid employers to withhold wages from a poor worker.(Deuteronomy 24:14-15)
How God views the mistreatment of the poor and needy.
He who mistreats the poor dishonors God. (Proverbs 14:31)
He who laughs or is glad about a poor person’s misfortune dishonors God and will not go unpunished.(Proverbs 17:5)
He who ignores the needs of a poor person will be ignored themselves. (Proverbs 21:13)
He who takes advantage of the poor for his own gain will come to poverty himself.(Proverbs 22:16)
God considers the oppression of the poor an abomination that is worthy of death.(Ezekiel 18:12-13)
God sees the mistreatment of the poor and will deliver him and defend him.(Psalm 12:5 and Psalm 35:10)
“But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and truth.” (I John 3:17-18)
In Matthew 25:34-40, Jesus teaches that the way we treat those in need—the hungry, naked, and imprisoned–is also the way we are treating Him.
God desires to lift up the poor and needy
God desires to lift up the poor out of his lowly state because it reveals His love and grace.
“He raises the poor out of the dust, and lifts the needy out of the ash heap.” (Psalm 113:7)
God has compassion on the underdog and will prosper and exalt such a person if he lives righteously before God. Think of Joseph in the Bible. He was sold into slavery by his brothers. He served as slave for some years and was wrongfully imprisoned, but after a while, God brought him out and gave him the esteemed position of head of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. (Genesis, chapters 39-41)
Daniel is another good example. He was taken captive away from his homeland with many of other Israelites to live as a slave in a foreign land, but because he was dedicated to serving God, God saw to it that Daniel was admired and respected by his captors. (Book of Daniel)
Things that can keep us from prosperity
- Disobedience to God.
Like the Israelites in II Chronicles 24:20,is God asking you, “Why do you transgress the commandments of the Lord, so that you cannot prosper?” God desires for us to prosper, but like any good father, He is not going to reward our disobedience.
- Not confessing and asking for forgiveness of your sins.
“He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)
How to rise above poverty and experience prosperity
- Ask for it.
Jabez asked for prosperity, and God provided it. (I Chronicles 4:9-10)
- Show God that He can trust you with more.
In the parable of the talents, Jesus teaches that when you show God that you know how to take riches and use them wisely, then He will give you more. When you learn to wisely use what you already have—your money, possessions, resources, and so forth–God will give you more.
- Live righteously.
The righteous will flourish. (Psalm 92:12-14)
- Delight in God and His word.
Those that delight in God will prosper in everything they do. (Psalm 1:3)
- Study and obey God’s word.
God promises prosperity and success to those that study and follow His word. (Joshua 1:7-8 and II Chronicles 20:20)
- Dedication to service for God–II Chronicles 31:20-21 (Hezekiah)