What the Bible says about Poverty: Deuteronomy 15:4-6

Good day! Today we’re on our third post in the series “What the Bible says about Poverty.” This post will look at a passage in Deuteronomy that tells us how God intended life to be.

(4) There will be no poor among you, however, because the Lord is certain to bless you in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance – (5) if only you obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow every one of the commands I am giving you today. (6) When the Lord your God blesses you as he promised you, you will lend to many nations but not borrow; you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you. Deuteronomy 15:4-6

Doesn’t this paint a beautiful picture? God brought His people out of their pain and suffering as slaves in Egypt and to this new promised land where they would be blessed beyond measure. This passage says there will be no poor, yet this doesn’t seem to be accurate. There are clearly people experiencing poverty now and throughout history. So, why is God saying His blessing will result in the abundance of blessing and the absence of poverty?

See that phrase snuck right in the middle of the passage? “If only you obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow every one of the commands I am giving you today.” God gives many instructions, that when followed, result in a beautiful, flourishing life. However, because of the fall and the brokenness of humans, we don’t follow all the commands God gave us. This is the reason we have poverty in our world. Humans, by our own means, are incapable of living up to God’s standards that would result in that picture of a thriving, bountiful community painted above.

Thankfully, God sent his holy and perfect son Jesus Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice for our shortcomings. Through our reconciliation with Christ, we can have a piece of this promised, flourishing life here and now (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). While we won’t experience full flourishing until the Kingdom comes, we have been mandated to care for the poor in the now. We can read the Bible and learn what God’s commands are. How does he tell us to treat the poor and what systems should we set up to prevent or overcome poverty?

Later in this series, we will read some of these commands — there are many more than ten! God gave us the blueprint for poverty alleviation; we just need to study and implement it.