An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Cause of Poverty

(Proverbs 19:7 KJV)  All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him.

There is an assumption here that I did not at first see.  Aall I saw was the one who was “poor” (7326).  I thought I was supposed to feel sorry for him.  Everyone was abandoning him.  It seemed like an observation that reflected poorly on others.  But I kept thinking.

We have the “brethren" (brothers NASB) (251) of a “poor” (7326) man.  It is taken for granted that the brothers are not poor.  At first I was assuming he was one of that large helpless class.  But if his brothers were not poor, his family was not poor.  So we are not talking about someone who is locked into poverty by social injustice or oppression.  This is a man who has created his own poverty.  The poor get a lot of good press in Proverbs.  This word is not always condemned, it is the context that brings this nuance. 

And these brothers “hate” (8130) him.  It seems implied because he is poor, but I wonder if it isn’t because of the way he became poor and the attitudes that keep him that way.  It can’t be an accident of birth, class or other social distinction.  It is because of choices he has made.

Is poverty created by our actions, by accident or by oppression?  Obviously it can be any of the three but the one hardest to escape is the poverty we create for ourselves. 

And what about the “friends” (4828).  It does not seem to be based on what we would call friendship today.  Or maybe it is pointing out that some people can wear out their welcome by their lack of good character.  People who were once your friends might remove themselves from contact because you have become a parasite instead of a companion.

So?  What kind of brother are we?  Do we view friends as people to be used or people to be served?  What kind of attitudes do we exhibit to others?  Examine yourself.  Be honest.


Covnitkepr1 said...

Certainly a different slant on this verse.

In the '80s I watched as good hard working men lost their jobs when jobs were scarce. They went from working class to destitution very quickly. Their families suffered with them. It was sad to watch.

And then there were the families that lived on welfare and didn't want to work for a living. It's hard to love those with this mind frame.

Pumice said...

I think we all need to beware of painting with too broad a brush. Having said that our attitude can have more impact than we sometimes want to admit.

My father started his own construction business. He never made a lot of money, but he always had work. When things slowed down he always had enough to get through. Why? I think it was because people knew he would do an honest job. If the plans said two pieces of steel, he might put three. If they wanted three inches of concrete he would make sure that was the minimum, not the maximum. I am grateful for the example he set. He raised four boys who are all following the Lord today.

In times like this I am grateful every day that I have a job. We do need to be sensitive to the needs around us.

Thanks. Feel free to point things out.

Grace and Peace.