Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
During last week's study we learnt that there were laws governing every single thing in existence and that nothing happened by accident. We also talked about laws and opposing laws; we learnt that one must know about one law in order to counter it.
Poverty is a very serious phenomenon in the world today; its devastating effects can only point to the fact that there’s a spiritual force behind it. John 10:10 talks about the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy. Poverty puts its victims in a bad place. It makes them vulnerable (Proverbs 18:23), they are shunned by friends (Proverbs 14:20), and makes them become servants to the rich (Proverbs 22:7). Poverty also brings sorrow (Proverbs 31:7) and can lead to crime (Proverbs 30:8-9). From these instances we know that poverty is not God’s intention for us; because He takes pleasure in the prosperity of his people. (Psalms 35:27).
In today's study we shall be considering the laws that govern poverty (in other words, the causes of poverty) solely for the purpose of knowing how to supersede them with a corresponding higher law!
FIRST THINGS FIRST
Poverty is a curse. It's a curse that stems from disobedience. Deuteronomy 28:15 says: “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you. “Also read, Malachi 3:8-9
Being under the curse of poverty means one cannot be prosperous even if they worked hard! Because the curse will negate their efforts. But Jesus broke the curse of poverty. Gal. 3:13 says:
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).”
This tells us that we are no longer under the curse but it however, doesn't automatically makes us prosperous. 2 Corinthians 8:9 says: "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." (Emphasis mine). He became poor for our sakes giving us the opportunity – making it possible that we can be rich; because now, the curse no longer has its effect on us!
THE LAWS THAT GOVERN POVERTY
The book of Proverbs gives visibility to the causes of poverty. Because of the book's instructive nature it does not only tell us the “Laws” it also tells us the “Superseding Laws”. So let us look at these causes:
1. LOVE OF SLEEP
Proverbs 24:33-34: “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 20:13: “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.”
While this character should be up tilling his field and planting his vineyard, he is in his bed; and awaking, instead of rising, craves for and indulges himself in another little doze, and which he repeats again and again. Also it's important to know that sleep can also mean prayerlessness. The state of prayerlessness is spiritual slumber.
To supersede this Law of the Love of Sleep we need to turn to the higher Law – of Being Alert!
Prov. 23:34 says poverty will come like a robber – to steal, kill and destroy. That’s why 1 Peter 5:8 says we should “. . . be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”
Being in a rush especially when you have left something that needs to be done, undone. And then seeking for get-rich-quick schemes.
Proverbs 21:5: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.”
To supersede this Law of making haste we need to turn to the higher Law – of Careful Planning!
Proverbs 20:4 – “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.”
Proverbs 19: 15 – “Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.”
Proverbs 10:4 – “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”
To supersede this Law of laziness, we need to turn to the higher Law – of Hard Work!
Proverbs 11:24 - “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.”
2 Corinthians 9:6
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
Another aspect of “scattering” is wisely investing in ventures that will bring increase. Eccl. 11:6 says: “In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good.”
To supersede this Law of stinginess we need to turn to the higher Law – of Generosity!
Failure or refusal to obey God’s rules or surrender to His authority.
Deuteronomy 28:15 says: “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.”
Jesus said if ye love me, keep my commandments. When we disobey God’s commandments, it shows that we don’t love Him. We also break the hedge and give room for the serpent to bite!
To supersede this Law of disobedience we need to turn to the higher Law – of Obedience!
A situation in which people do not control their behaviour or obey rules.
“Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honoured.”
To supersede this Law of Indiscipline we need to turn to the higher Law – of Taking Correction and not continuing headlong in error.
Not working or active; habitually doing nothing or avoiding work. To pass time doing nothing.
Proverbs 14:23 – “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”
Proverbs 28:19 “He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!
To supersede this Law of idleness we need to turn to the higher Law – of Diligent Work.
8. EXTRAVAGANCE (SELF-INDULGENCE)
Lack of restraint in spending money or using resources. Characterized by doing or tending to do exactly what one wants, especially when this involves pleasure or idleness.
Proverbs 21:17 – “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.”
Proverbs 23:20-21 – “Do not mix with winebibbers, Or with gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags”
To supersede this Law of extravagance we need to turn to the higher Law – of Exercising Restraint!
Poverty is a curse. It's a curse that stems from Disobedience. Poverty is a very serious phenomenon in the world today; its devastating effects can only point to the fact that there’s a force behind it. John 10:10. It is not God’s intention for us that’s why Jesus broke the curse of poverty as we see in Gal. 3:13. Meaning that we are no longer contending with the curse ourselves. However, breaking this curse doesn't automatically make us prosperous. Because if we allow the devil to use the tool of ignorance against us he will succeed in keeping us impoverished. Now that we know the laws of poverty, it is up to us to use the higher laws given by God in His words to supersede them!