We all know it’s good to give to the poor, but did you know that the Bible actually establishes a working relationship between those more fortunate and those less fortunate? The Bible not only points out this relationship but explains how God sees fit for it to function. The wealthy and the poor are mentioned many times within the book of Proverbs, but in chapter 22 alone there are six verses that give us intricate insight into this topic. This brings us to our key text coming out of Proverbs 22:2,7,9,16,22 — 23 (KJV). The Word of the Lord reads:
2 The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all….7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender…9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor….16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want….22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate 23 For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of the those that spoiled them
The relationship between the wealthy and the poor can be broken down into six components.
First: God establishes the fact that He is the maker of both the rich and the poor and that we all live in this world together.
Second: We learn that the rich rule over the poor. Those who control more resources clearly have more power. Furthermore, if the poor borrow from the rich, they are a servant to the rich. In other words, if one borrows, he or she needs to honor the terms of that agreement, and pay back the designated amount.
Third: It is one thing to make a loan to someone less fortunate, but the Bible specifically says you are blessed when you give in order to help someone as opposed to lending.
Fourth: Though the rich rule over the poor, the Word of God makes it clear that they are not to abuse their power. If the rich oppress the poor in an attempt to increase their own gain, the Bible says they will end up losing instead.
Fifth: In addition to not oppressing those less fortunate, we are not to rob from them. Though oppressing and robbing are two different things, they are both abhorred by God.
Sixth: Lastly the Lord’s Word explicitly tells us that He will indeed punish those who oppress and/or rob the poor.
In a nutshell, there is to be a level of respect between the poor and the wealthy. If the poor need to borrow from the wealthy, they should honor whatever agreement is set in place. Though the wealthy are set in power over the poor, they should use that power to bless and not oppress. We are all God’s children, and we need to follow His blueprint. Life can change in an instant, and you never know which side of the fence you’ll be on tomorrow.
Have a blessed day!
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Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories from the Christian perspective, available on Amazon.com in the fall of 2013. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.