Living by Faith May Include Poverty

1-persecuted-christiansSecond, these believers suffered economic abuse. “They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated” (Heb 11:37). The wearing of “sheepskins and goatskins” indicates economic poverty. It does not mean that they followed the fashion of John the Baptist. Rather, they had no other clothes to wear. They couldn’t buy normal clothes. Nobody sold it to them. They couldn’t find jobs. Nobody hired them. (Girdwood and Verkru)

God’s Word describes them as “destitute” (hustereo) (v. 37). The word “destitute” is a passive present participle (husteromenoi), “being destitute” (NKJV). It means to “to be lacking in what is essential or needed–‘to lack, to be in need of, to be in want.’” (Louw-Nida). It speaks of material lack or the lack of material necessities. In the passive voice, it means that others are causing them to be destitute.

Paul experienced material poverty. He wrote, “And when I was with you and was in need [hustereo], I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need” (2 Cor. 11:9).

According to prosperity pastors, if you trust and obey God, you will receive the favor of God—the blessing of health and wealth. That is a false teaching. These people of faith trusted and obeyed God. I’ve known many pastors who trusted God wholeheartedly and served Him faithfully. But they suffered economic poverty. Nonetheless, the favor of God rested upon them. The Word of God commends them.

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