What is the Bible’s message to the poor?

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By BibleAsk Team


The Message to the Poor 

While some are poor because of bad choices (Proverbs 28:19), not working hard enough (Proverbs 24:33-34) or not following good council (Proverbs 13:18), there are those that become poor for valid reasons such as sickness, disability, lack of opportunity, death, etc. So, being poor isn’t necessarily a sign of God’s disfavor. The persecuted church in Smyrna was poor but God saw them as rich and they had His approval (Revelation 2:9). 

In the Old Testament, the Bible instructed God’s people to care for the needy (Deuteronomy 15:11. And because poverty was painful, Solomon prayed: “Give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me” (Proverbs 30:8).  Also, the New testament taught the importance of helping the needy (Luke 14:12-14; Matthew 19:21; 1 John 3:17). Jesus affirmed that, “inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me’” (Matthew 25:40). And He instructed us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). 

The Son of God especially identified with the needy and unfortunate for He grew up in such a family. His parents at His dedication offered pigeons an offering typical of the needy (Luke 2:24). He declared during His ministry, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matthew 8:20). And “though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).  

The Savior had a special message of comfort to those that lack material things. He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor” (Luke 4:18). And He gave hope of eternal rewards to the needy in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31). 

Christ affirmed that the Lord will reward the sacrificial gifts of love even if it was meager. And He commended a needy widow who gave only “two mites.” He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had” (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus’ commendation of this woman was based on the spirit that prompted her gift, not on its monatry worth. 

God’s Promises: 

“I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor” (Psalms 140:12). 

“He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, and He will pay back what he has given” (Proverbs 19:17). 

“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). 

“Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; for the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them” (Proverbs 22:22,23). 

“He who gives to the poor will not lack, “But he who hides his eyes will have many curses” (Proverbs 28:27). 

“Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled” (Luke 6:20-21). 

“Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). It should be noted that this is the only time in the Bible that the Lord allows man to “Try” or “test” Him. 

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