A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of watching one of the popular TED Talks – a series of special, motivational or inspirational talks. I gained a lot of things and I was prompted to look for more of such videos. Along the line, I stumbled on one particular talk that grabbed my attention. I gave in to it.
This sweet lady was passionate about what she was saying, which was something about the rampage of poverty in the world. She talked and talked and finally gave in to the tears that were dammed behind her glass eyes. In due course, she soon mumbled something on how people could believe the existence of God. Then as a way to prove herself, she quoted a portion from Deuteronomy 15,
“For the poor shall never cease out of the land… (Deut 15:11a KJV)”
And then the lady hammered and hammered on that particular phrase: “For the poor shall never cease out of the land…”
Now, I’m not taking a dig at the woman from the TED Talks or anybody with similar opinions. As a matter of fact, I think she actually made a lot of sense and raised valid points as long as she stayed on course. However, that would not stop me from bring your attention to a point that I’ve shared with you before and will most likely share with you again:
Don’t take Bible verses in isolation!
You see, to have a better understanding of the contextual meanings of scriptural texts, it always pays to read the preceding and succeeding verses. And the same principle applies here.
God loves us very much and He wants us to live a glorious life here on earth and then in heaven.
Little wonder that the Bible says,
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth (3 John 2 KJV)”
That is God’s perfect will for us; a rich and prosperous soul, as well as a rich and prosperous body.
2 Corinthians 8:9 also goes on to say,
“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich (KJV)”
That truth is very weighty. We find it so easy to believe that Christ became sin for us and we have His righteousness. Yet, we surprisingly find it so difficult to accept that Christ became poor for our sakes so that we could be rich and enjoy His wealth.
Friend, which do you think is harder: Christ making you righteous or Him making you rich?
Believe me, making you righteous was far more tasking than making you rich. You know why? Poverty is just one of the many results of sin. Sin would cause all types of sicknesses, including financial sickness. Sin would cause all types of death, including fiscal death. Sin would cause poverty. Christ redeemed us from sin, therefore, He also redeemed us from poverty.
That is a vital truth, if you can take it.
God doesn’t want you to be poor. He created you in His Image. He is rich and he created you to be rich. Anything otherwise is as if you are trying to put God to shame.
With this at the back of our minds, let us return to our friend from the TED Talks.
Deuteronomy 15:11 says,
“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land (KJV)”
To have a better view of the scenario, go as far back as the 4th verse of the same chapter,
“Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the Lord shall greatly bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it (Deut 15:4 KJV)”
“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 (Deut 15:4 NIV)”
“However, there will be no poor among you, sincethe Lord will surely bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess (Deut 15:4 NASU)”
“But there will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess (Deut 15:4 ESV)”
Wow! Now, I wonder why no one seems to enjoy quoting this portion.
This is God’s will for us. He said that there would be NO poor people amongst us. He said He would bless us in our own land. This is God’s Promise to us, spoken from His Word. God is not like men that say what they do not mean. No, God is the God of Integrity. He is bound by His Word because His Word is His Bond. He honors His Word much more than anything He has named. He has promised and He would do it.
That’s good, right? Well, I hate to burst your bubble, but there’s a part that no one lie to listen to. Despite the fact that God is a loving God with promises that He’d fulfill, He is not irresponsible. Every promise of God has a condition. And Deuteronomy 15:5 spells it out,
“Only if thou carefully hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command thee this day (KJV Emphasis mine)”
Very simple conditions. Yet seemingly hard for the average Joe.
God’s conditions for Him to load you with immense prosperity is simple and straightforward: Listen to God’s Commands and do them.
That’s all. Really, that’s all.
But the truth about God is that He knows all things. He knows the end from the beginning. And the fact that He has given unto man the gift of Free Will, God knows that many people would choose NOT to meet His simple and clear-cut conditions He had already laid down for us to be care-takers of His wealth. This is the reason Deuteronomy 15:11 comes into the picture.
God is not saying that because He is the Almighty One, He would just select people randomly that would automatically be poor. No, that is far from the way God works. Rather, we are the ones that get to choose whether or not we want to meet up to God’s basic conditions for u to receive His Blessings.
“…To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts (Heb 4:7bKJV)”