The Security of the Rich and the Ruin of the Poor

“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:10-11 

“A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.” Proverbs 10:4-5 

“A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.” Proverbs 10:15 

Proverbs has much to say about the rich and the poor. It counsels against laziness which results in poverty and in support of hard work to supply one’s needs. (Proverbs 6:6-8). A rich man’s wealth is security to him and if accomplished by his own industry meets the command of God to provide for ourselves, if at all possible (I Thessalonians 4:11-12). Still one should never trust to his own abilities to provide for himself as God is always the ultimate provider of our needs and our strong tower. One who trusts in himself or his wealth rather than God will see his imaginary “strong city” destroyed (Proverbs 18:10-12). We should always be quick to give thanks to God as we prosper.

Poverty on the other hand leaves a person exposed to ruin. The Hebrew word here for poor is “feeble, weak, helpless”. There is never any intrinsic good in poverty and it should never be embraced out of laziness or romanticism. God sometimes ordains poverty for certain people through no fault of their own, to accomplish His plans, and contentment is only found in our relationship to Him and not in a certain level of wealth. However, God’s idea for most people is to work hard, see the fruits of their labor and to one degree or another prosper. Illustrated in the Parable of the Talents, God commended the servants who worked hard and produced fruit equal to the degree of talents given them. To the servant who was lazy and did nothing with the one talent given him even the little he had was given to the two, more industrious, servants. Let us endeavor to avoid laziness and always work hard in whatever we do for the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).

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