God’s View on Poverty

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An often asked question by readers is, “Does God desire people to be poor?”

Scripture does address God’s view on poverty. Though I cannot cover all possible aspects of poverty in one post, I think this article will give you clear answers.

God specifically mentions His watchful care over the poor.

It is important to realize that this is not a matter of favoritism, because God speaks against that and promises His unfailing love to all who seek Him, but a matter of special reassurance. The poor are often neglect or forgotten by the societies in which they live. Anyone who has been in poverty understands the struggles with the feeling of abandonment, hopelessness, and that there is no one who cares. Fully understanding a person’s circumstances, God specifically speaks to remind the poor that He cares, is paying attention, and is attentive to their requests for help.

Here are a few quotes in which God expresses His attentiveness to the poor:

Isa 41:17 The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.

Ex 22:22,23 Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.

De 15:4,7 However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you. If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.

1Sa 2:8 He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; He seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.

Ps 35:10 Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.

Ps 34:6 This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.

It is important to remember that poverty was a result of the fall of mankind, not of God’s creation.

When God created the world and mankind, everything was perfect in form and function. Mankind did not lack anything good. It was only after mankind’s willful disobedience against God, referred to as “the fall of man,” did all the forms of corruption on the earth that we now see begin, such as poverty, disease, violence, etc. Why is an understanding of this timeline so crucially important? It reveals that poverty was not God’s plan or purpose for anyone. In spite of religious views that have developed through time that poverty is a matter of piety or righteousness, God did not create mankind to lack any good thing. Lack came as a result of mankind violating the spiritual laws God set up to protect our lives from such things.

Why do so many religions associate poverty with piety?

It is easy to see where the view of poverty and piety developed because any type of crisis usually causes a person to look for help from Someone greater than him or her self. This does not make the crisis good or “from God” just because you need someone else to help you. The religious connection between poverty and piety also came from people seeing people who were wealthy living in ways that were prideful, selfish, and abusive. However, wealth is not in itself evil or make people evil as there are many wealthy people in the world who spend their lives as philanthropists, using their wealth to help the needy.

A multitude of Scriptures show that God does not desire anyone to be poor.

Before you misunderstand that statement, remember that God is our perfect Father. Just as a loving parent would never wish poverty or any other crisis or harm on their children, neither does a loving God desire anything harmful on the people who are the focus of His unfailing love. Due to the corruption in the world from the fall of man, poverty can come to a person from so many sources-government corruption, natural disaster, economic collapse, mishandling of money, poor choices for education, or missed opportunities. The list is probably endless, but, again, God clearly states that He does not desire His people to be poor. Since God desires everyone to seek after Him and know Him, to be “His people,” He does not desire anyone to be poor. Even with rebellious children, a loving parent does not wish them harm; they desire their repentance.

Here is a list of verses that reveal God’s perspective. A variety of translations are used. It is not a complete list, but gives the clear picture of God’s desire.

2Co 9:11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

2Co 9:8 (Amplified) And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to me in abundance, so that I may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need, be self-sufficient — possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation.
(Wand) And He is able to provide amply for my every need, so that I may not only have enough to satisfy every possible want of my own, but also may have plenty for any kind act to another.

De 15:6 For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none

Isa 61:6, 7 And you will be called priests of the LORD, you will be named ministers of our God. You will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast. Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion.

Ps 34:9 Fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing.

Ps 35:27 (NAB) …The Lord be glorified; he wills my prosperity!

Isa 58:11 You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Mal 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes,

Joe 2:25 I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.

De 30:3 The LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you.

Jer 32:42 This is what the LORD says, “I will give them all the prosperity I have promised them.”

Zep 3:20 “I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the LORD.

Prov. 13:22 A sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

Ps. 112:1,3 (NKJ) Blessed is the man who fears the Lord; wealth and riches will be in his house,

Rom. 12:10 (Translator’s) …His riches are available for all who call on him for help. (Johnson) The Lord who is over everyone will respond generously to anyone who requests his help.

1 Cor. 1:5 (Anderson) For He has made me rich in every way by every word He has spoken to me and all the knowledge He has given me,

Phil 4:19 (Anderson) And in His wonderful way my God will supply my every need from His limitless wealth, through Christ Jesus. (Jer.) In return my God will fulfill all my needs, in Christ Jesus, as lavishly as only God can.

1 Tim 6:17 (Amplified) I set my hopes on God, who richly and ceaselessly provides me with everything for [my] enjoyment;

Related Post: Is Poverty Ever From God

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