Hebrew Highlights 48 - BEGGING
Shalom. This is Yuval Shomron, coming to you from Jerusalem.
PSA 37:25 “I have been young, and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, or his descendants begging bread.” I’ve always found this simple statement very interesting. Psalm 37 is a veritable lexicon of comparisons between the wicked and the righteous. I should begin my expounding on this subject by reminding us that we who follow Yeshua are righteous only because of His work on the cross. Nevertheless, God has seen fit to label us saints because of Messiah’s victory, so we are able to read the Bible as ones to whom the promises apply. In Hebrew it says literally, “I have not see the righteous forsaken or his seed asking for bread.”
Have you ever noticed that when you hear about places where there is famine, or even bread shortages, the countries involved have, at least on a national level, rejected the message of the gospel? India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Russia, Afghanistan, and many others are on that list. Now of course, there are many prosperous countries which do not claim a majority of Christians, but they do at least allow believers to preach freely.
Those of us privileged to live in nations with virtually no real hunger, have an opposite problem. We tend to take the bounty of God’s blessing for granted. In point of fact, we are in the unfortunate habit of thinking more is coming to us than we deserve. We need to be careful.
HEB 13:5 says, “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." Again, we read something similar in EPH 5:3, “ but do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” We are very quick to judge those caught in immorality or impurity, but greed runs rampant among Christians. It is as great and dangerous a sin as impurity. I have no doubt that God is please to help us prosper, but we sometimes demand riches from Him, instead of just being happy with what He has provided in His wisdom.
The Apostle Paul addresses this in PHI 4:11-12, “Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.”
We should be especially careful not to judge other believers who are in need. If someone is not rich, it does not necessarily prove they are in sin. If we find ourselves in a less-than-prosperous situation, we probably need to ask God if there is anything we could do better. However, we need to discriminate between actual “needs” and “desires”. For instance, I may need a reliable automobile. Yet, my 7-year-old Volkswagen Golf is sufficient. I do not “need” a new Cadillac. God has provided my children with clean and sturdy clothes to attend school. They do not “need” designer jeans. My family eats three descent meals each day, prepared lovingly and scrumptiously by my wife at home. We do not “need” to eat out at restaurants. God also provides for the occasional treat of an evening dining out, but we see this as a “special blessing”, not a “birthright”.
We are all familiar with the standard proof text concerning this subject. MAT 6:31-33, "Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.”
This of course is the point. The “gentiles” or pagans, in this context, are the ones who are running around looking for material wealth. Our focus should be on God’s kingdom.
God has so blessed Christian nations, that his abundance seems to linger generations even after many people’s focus has turned from God’s face. Let’s not forget, even for a day, that any and all provision we have comes from Him.
There is one Jewish tradition which varies greatly from that of Christians. People in Israel return thanks to God after the meal, not before. Maybe this is a good idea. Perhaps we appreciate the Lord’s goodness more when we realize that indeed, our tummies are full.
Shalom, Shalom, from Jerusalem.