Righteousness: The Answer to Sin and Poverty

Beautiful Bread

If you’re struggling with poverty in your life, there’s only one sure way overcome it: Turn from the sin that holds you there and begin to walk in God’s will.

We’ve spent the past few weeks in this section of “God, Money & Me” studying the relationship between poverty and sin. And we’ve found this sad fact: At its core, poverty always comes from sin. Sometimes it comes from sin in an individual’s life, which leads to individual poverty; other times the sin of whole societies traps large populations of people in poverty. Today, though, we’re going to turn the corner and look at the solution to this problem.

The answer to the problem of sin and poverty is to flee from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. Because He promises to care for the needs of those who live for Him.

We’re going to look at God’s promises from scripture to see the difference that righteousness makes in your financial life. This passage comes from Psalm 37:21-29, and has some of our favorite promises of provision in the whole Bible:

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;
22 those the Lord blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be destroyed.

23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be a blessing.

27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.

Wrongdoers will be completely destroyed;
the offspring of the wicked will perish.
29 The righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.

I love this passage because  of the way that it beautifully spells out God’s view of righteousness, sin, poverty and wealth. God makes it clear that sin leads to painful consequences, and also that those who love and obey Him will be blessed. There are four main aspects of this relationship that I want to point out today.

1) Repentance brings security

Sin puts us on the fast track to destruction, but repentance stops that train and turns it in a different direction. Verse 27 makes this clear: “Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.” Even when our sins have set the stage for pain and poverty, God’s grace gives us the opportunity to repent and return to His ways. If we do that, we become just and faithful children that He promises to protect.

2) Righteousness brings provision

Verse 25 is one of my all-time favorite statements about God’s provision for His people: ” I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.” In his entire life, David had never found a situation where one of God’s faithful people was languishing in poverty. Righteousness isn’t a guarantee of incredible wealth, but God does promise to take care of and meet the needs of those who fear Him.

3) God brings justice

One of the most frustrating things in life is to see wicked people prospering at the expense of the vulnerable. Our hearts cry out for justice in these circumstances, and while it’s sometimes slow in coming, God promises that evildoers will eventually find their due punishment. Verses 21-22 give us this promise: “The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; those the Lord blesses will inherit the land, but those he curses will be destroyed.” We may not understand all of life’s inequities now, but we have it in writing that God brings justice.

4) Faithfulness brings blessing

Just as the sin of some people can cause poverty for an entire society, the faithfulness of God’s people can spread prosperity and blessing throughout the land. Verse 21 tell us that righteous people give freely, spreading their abundance to other people who are in need. And verse 26 describes the impact that they can have on their societies: “They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.”  The righteous not only enjoy God’s provision, but spread God’s blessings to the rest of the earth.

Wickedness causes poverty, and ultimately leads to destruction, but God promises to care for those who follow Him. Do so faithfully, and you can change your own life and even play a part in transforming the world around you.


Photo by Moyan Brenn. Used under Creative Commons license.

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