Deuteronomy 15:4-6, 11 However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. For the LORD your God will bless you as he has promised, and you will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. You will rule over many nations but none will rule over you. … … There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.
Did you notice the deep irony in these verses? Moses was preparing the LORD’s Covenant People people for life in the land he had promised to Abraham’s descendants. The promise was that he would BLESS them, AND that THEY would BE A BLESSING to others. In the light of this promise, they would ALWAYS have more than enough for their daily needs, and their conformity to God’s ways would guarantee this provision. This would mean, of course, that ‘there should be no poor among [them]’!
But, almost in the same breath, Moses adds, “There will always be poor people in the land.”! So what do WE learn from all this? We long to be part of a society where the ONE TRUE God is openly acknowledged and his blessing gratefully enjoyed! But because of human sin, to which we all contribute to some extent, this was never a reality in Israel, nor will it EVER be a reality anywhere until Jesus Returns to ‘make all things new’. All this never takes God by surprise, which is why he sent Jesus to earth to die in our place. In fact, while he was here Jesus acknowledged this very reality when people were criticising a woman for ‘wasting’ expensive ointment by pouring it on his head (Mark 14:7)!
Because the Sovereign LORD KNOWS it will never be a reality in our present world, he gives us clear instructions on how we are to live as HIS people in the mess. So, I learn from Moses to expend more energy in BEING LIGHT and SALT in a dark and rotting world, and less on wishing things were better. It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness! And an essential part of doing this is to spend time in God’s Word where the clear instructions are given.
– Bruce Christian