HE HAS CHOSEN THE POOR OF THIS WORLD—RICH IN FAITH
“Listen, my beloved brothers: Has Elohim not CHOSEN the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom, which He promised to those who love Him?” (James/Ja’cob 2:5)
Zephaniah 3:8-9,12-13: Regarding the time of, and after, Messiah’s return—speaking to the sons of Jacob: “I have said, `Only fear Me, accept instruction’. And her dwelling would not be cut off, all that I have appointed for her. But, they rose up early--they corrupted all their deeds. `Therefore wait for Me’, declares Yahuweh, `until the day I rise up for plunder. For My judgment is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My rage, all my burning wrath. For by the fire of My jealousy all the earth shall be consumed. For then I shall turn unto the peoples a pure language, so that they all call on the Name of Yahuweh, to serve Him with one shoulder….In that day you shall not be put to shame for any of your deeds in which you have transgressed against Me, for then I shall remove from your midst your proud and exalting ones, and you shall no more be haughty in My set-apart mountain. But, I will leave in your midst an oppressed and poor people, and they shall trust in the Name of Yahuweh. The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness and speak no falsehoods, nor is a tongue of deceit found in their mouth. For they shall feed their flocks and lie down, and none shall frighten them”.
Revelation 14:5: Characteristics of the Bride of Messiah: “And in their mouth was found no guile, for they are without fault before the throne of Yahuweh”.
Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven”. I Corinthians 1:26-31: “For look at your calling, brothers, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble ones called. But, Elohim has CHOSEN the foolish things of this world to put to shame the wise, and Elohim has CHOSEN the weak of the world to put to shame the strong. And Elohim has CHOSEN the lowborn of the world and the despised, and the ones that are not, that He might bring to nothingness the ones that are, so that no flesh should boast in His presence. And of Him you are in Messiah Yahushua, who became for us wisdom from Elohim, righteousness also, and set-apartness and redemption, that it has been written, `He who boasts, let him boast in Yahuweh’”. Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Thus says Yahuweh, `Let not the wise boast in his wisdom. Let not the mighty boast in his might, nor let the rich boast in their riches, butlet him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and Page 1
knows Me, that I am Yahuweh, doing kindness, right-ruling and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight’, declares Yahuweh.” Proverbs 13:7: “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing at all. And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches”. Proverbs 13:7 reminds me of men like Hudson Taylor who came from a family that was not poor, yet when the Father called him to spread the Good News of Messiah to China, he went down by the docks in London, and rented a shack, ate rice, slept on the floor, rejected his father’s money and the money of a missionary board he could have gone with, but didn’t. When Father said “GO”, he and his new wife went. They dressed like the Chinese, receiving mockery and disgust from the missionary societies whose missionaries were paid and who lived in lovely houses behind high walls. Hudson and his wife Maria, lived with the Chinese, ate their food, raised their children with the Chinese, and even though some of the their children died on the mission field, they continued on into the interior of China, where others would not go. As a result today, many Chinese trace their salvation to the work of Hudson Taylor and his China Inland Mission. He was one of those who “made himself poor, that he might have great riches” of eternal reward!
I have been with the persecuted believers in China many times. It is estimated that the true underground congregation of China has over 100 million members. For a long time at least 20,000 a day were known to have become believers, because the true faithful ones were risking their lives to spread the Good News. There are no more pure and strong believers than these on earth. Many believe that the main remnant of the last days, at least the ruling and reigning ones—the martyrs of Revelation 20:6--will come out of China, and Indonesia, and other countries of severe persecution. I met several times with Samuel Lamb in GuangZhou. He had been in prison for 20 years and has been under house arrest for many years. He had a chance, before the Communists clamped down on Christians, to escape to the West. He turned that opportunity down. Because he chose “the hard road”, he was arrested and put in hard labor for 20 years. During that time his wife died, and other family members. Today, the police can do nothing with him—he has over 1,600 people coming to his little place in the alley called on Da Ma Zong Street in GuangZhou twice a week. He chose to be poor. He was a concert pianist and popular with westerners. He was asked many times, even after his imprisonment if he wanted to go to the West—but he said “No”.
The martyrs will rule and reign with Him, for they are faithful. You don’t hear these child-like people complaining. In fact, the average pastor spends 17 years in prison in China, where he is tortured and put to severe labor. If they survive and get out, the general statement is: “It is our schooling”. They do not want to discuss their years in prison, but only want to glorify their Savior.
How opposite the attitude is of the persecuted believers from the attitudes of the assemblies of Sardis and Laodicea--Revelation 3--that describe the rich western church. They look oh so good, but they are like as “dead men’s bones”. The warning to Sardis is that if they do not repent, their names will be
removed from the book of life. There is no more serious warning than that. The lukewarm of Laodicea will be vomited from His mouth. The warning to these assemblies is: “REPENT AND TURN BACK” to the covenant responsibility of His Kingdom.
I was reading Zephaniah 3:12-13 a few days ago and the words above leapt off the page. He will leave a poor and oppressed remnant in Israel, AFTER HIS RETURN. I thought to myself, “that does not compute”. So I opened my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, and began looking up words. I share these words near the end of this article.
In Psalm 37, in several verses, He says: “The meek shall inherit the earth”—inherit the land area of their tribe in the Land of Israel. The word “meek” in Hebrew means “gentle, kind”. The humble, the ones with the fruit of the re-born spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) will INHERIT the earth.
The land inheritance area is found in Ezekiel 47:13-chapter 48. The inheritance goes to the individual twelve tribes of Jacob. But, also (Ezekiel 47:22-23) says that if a stranger (gentile) wants to live there also, they can sojourn in the land that they dwelling in. Yahuweh made no covenant with “gentiles”, but if one that is not of the seed of Jacob wants to join in the covenant of Yahuweh, he has always been able to do that.
From Exodus 12:48-49, Numbers 15:15-16, 29-30; Isaiah 56:t6-7, we see that the “stranger, alien and foreigner” could enter the covenant of Israel, which included land allotment, if they followed the Kingdom rules—entering the covenant of Israel by the blood of the Passover lamb. But, the redeemed remnant of the biological descendants of Jacob and his twelve sons inherit the land of Israel forever, as is rightfully theirs under the “Abrahamic Covenant” of Genesis 15:14-17.
Matthew 18:3: “Truly I say to you, unless you turn and become as little children, you shall by no means enter the Kingdom of heaven”. This one statement cuts against the whole thinking of Western culture, which is
built on success, education, position, material possessions and social status. But, the Messiah of Israel is not a Greek or a Roman as the “Church” has made
Him out to be. This teaching is totally opposite of the modern “gospel” of get, me, and self.
Mark 8:34-36: “And calling near the crowd with His disciples He said to them, `Whoever desires to come after Me, let Him deny himself and take up his stake and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Good News, he shall save it. Page 3
For what shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Matthew 10:37-39: “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take up his stake and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he that has lost
his life for My sake shall find it”. Luke 14:27, 33: “And who ever does not bear his stake and come after Me is unable to be My disciple…So, then, everyone one of you who does not give up all that he has, is unable to be My disciple”. A rich, young man came to Messiah and asked Him: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Messiah answers him: “If you wish to enter into eternal life, guard the commandments”. The young man asked “Which commandments?” Messiah begins with the fifth commandment, generalizing the final five. The young man says that he has guarded all of the ones Messiah named since his youth. But, commandments one through four were not mentioned--which are summarized as: “You shall love Yahuweh, your Elohim with all of your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might”. (Deuteronomy 6:5/Exodus 20:1-7). The young man asked Yahushua: “I have kept all of these since my youth, what do I still lack?” And Messiah answered him: “IF you would be perfect (complete), sell what you have, give to the poor, and come and follow Me”. (Italics mine) This remark of Messiah included the commandment to love Elohim with all your heart, mind, soul and strength—for He was Elohim.
But, here is where the young man failed: He was a religious young man—very moral—but he loved his money and possessions, his family inheritance, his social position and his lifestyle in general, more than he loved Elohim. His god (his idol) was really his status as a rich man. (This account is taken from Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31 and 18:18-30).
But, it is amazing that when Yahushua put His finger on the true god of the rich, young man that instead of the young man defending himself and being haughty and proud, he humbly went away sad. He knew Messiah was right. I’ve heard it said that this young man later became the one we know as Barnabas—the traveling companion of the Apostle Paul—I hope this is true.
This pictures the Laodician assembly of today’s modern church of the West, primarily the American church, which proudly says: “We are rich and have need of nothing”. Yet, Messiah says to this assembly: “Because you say `Rich I am, and I am made rich, and need nothing at all’, and do not know that you are
It takes time to “buy of Him”. The trying of our faith, in the heat of affliction and pressure, trials and tribulations, that produces a hot enough fire to refine us like gold and purify us of dross, takes time. And my friends, we do not have much time left.
The foolish virgins were out of oil for their lamps. They went to buy and Messiah came—they were too late. My friends, we are entering a time period where many things will be “too late”. I am so grieved, because I see that so many sincere believers think they are good because they keep the
commandments that pertain to their relationship with man—making themselves look very good to other people--yet they have no intimate relationship with Him that produces humble obedience. They look good on the outside, but inside they are filled with self. In Matthew 23:23-28, Yahushua said these same things to the Pharisees, who supposedly were guardians of the Torah.
Matthew 23:28: “So you too outwardly indeed appear righteous to men, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness”. “Lawlessness” refers to disobedience to Yahuweh’s Torah (Instructions and
teachings). But, it also refers to an attitude of selfish agenda and selfish ambition—which is rebellion against the nature that Yahuweh requires of His true servants. John 15:18-21 gives the nature He’s looking for—a servant who desires to be like His Master, Yahushua.
Self-centered kingdom building, which involves jealousy, competition, aggression, pride and arrogance, are typical characteristics of today’s modern Christian and Messianic ministry of the West, and wherever the American-style ministry goes. Yet, these hidden agendas are so often covered over by a veneer of sweetness, cordiality, pleasant words, and proper religious attitudes.
Messiah is taking off the mask now—and exposing the nakedness of His people.
He is doing this, not to harm them, but to try to wake them up to see their own sinfulness. The Ruach’s job is to convict us of sin, so that we can repent. (John 16:7-11)
Repentance is a daily process! Repentance does NOT mean: “I’m sorry”, but it is OK to go do the sin again. Repentance is the removal of the dross—the removal of sin—the turning back to righteousness. (Ezekiel 18)
We willingly submit ourselves to His scrutiny, so that He can purify us. Otherwise we are full of defilement—pollutants—dross. Repentance means we submit to the Ruach Yahuweh so that He can change us from the inside out. (II Corinthians 3:17-18) Without repentance there is no salvation!
Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, `Master, Master’, shall enter into the Kingdom of heaven, but he who is doing the desire of My
Father in heaven. Many shall say to Me in that day, `Master, Master, have not we prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and
done many mighty works in Your Name?’ And then, I shall declare to them, `I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness’”.
In general, these who deceive themselves, appear to be righteous until someone touches the pride behind the façade. Their pride in their goodness is so often reflected in their quickly taking offence--being indignant, angry and even vengeance, their haughty, and very defensive--if someone even alludes to the fact that they have done something wrong, or had a wrong attitude. I’ve seen some who are considered very precious, yet when their façade is exposed, they turn so vicious that it is numbing.
The sad thing is that so many are in the ministry. Those in Matthew 7:21-23
appear to be ministers or leaders of the church. When the façade is exposed, behind the mask is so often “pride of life”—greed, ambition, pride in their goodness, pride of positions, pride of jobs, homes, furniture, cars, clothes, jewelry, decorations and trinkets, paintings and draperies, money, children, social position, position in the church, pride of control and independence—yet they are empty—vain—shallow—and naked and truly pathetic.
However, in drastic contrast, the poor who are rich in faith have a totally different view of life. There are those who also are “poor in spirit”, having made themselves that—though while they possess things, they realize these “things” are not theirs to “own”, but are given to them by Yahuweh to be used for the blessing of His people and the furtherance of His Kingdom.
It is not wrong to have things. But, heaping things—too much--upon ourselves can be sin. We are given the privilege of having money and goods, in order to bless others, and further the Kingdom, as well as to feed our families and give them a good bed to sleep in.
Messiah did NOT tell the rich young man, whose story is on page 4, to give away everything—He told him to give to the poor—and to come and follow Him. There are things we need in order to serve Him to the best of our ability. Messiah is not advocating poverty—unless we are called to live with the very poor for His purposes. But, Messiah is advocating a mentality that we must have as His servants, so that our things do not possess us! Matthew 6:21, 24: “For where your treasure is, there your heart shall be also…No one is able to serve two masters, for either he shall hate the one and love the other, or else he shall cleave to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve Elohim and mammon”.
“Mammon” was a god—the personification of wealth and money, and the power and control that comes with wealth. Life is not possessions, position, control, wealth or popularity—life is to serve the Master. (Luke 12:15; I Timothy 6:6-19)
I Timothy 6:17-19: “Charge those who are rich in this present age not to be high-minded, nor to trust in the uncertainty of riches, but in the living Elohim, who gives us richly all for enjoyment--to do good, to be rich in good Page 6
works, to be generous, ready to share, storing up for themselves a good
foundation for the time to come, so that they lay hold on everlasting life”. I Timothy 6:6-12a: Paul talking to Timothy: “But set-apartness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world and it is impossible to take anything out. When we have food and covering, we shall be satisfied with these. But, those wishing to be rich fall into trial and snare, and into many foolish and injurious lusts, which plunge men in ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all evil, for which some, by longing for it, have strayed from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many pains. But, you, O man of Elohim, flee from all of this,
and pursue righteousness, reverence, faith, love, endurance and meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on everlasting life…” Hebrews 13:5: “Let your life be without the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For He Himself has said, `I will never leave you nor forsake you’. That we might boldly say, `Yahuweh is my helper, I shall not fear what man shall do to me’”. Proverbs 11:24-25: “There is he who scatters and yet increases, and there is he who withholds more than is right, but it tends to poverty. For the
generous soul is enriched, and he that waters shall be watered himself.” Those who “make themselves” poor—live a simple life, dedicated to the Kingdom of Yahuweh. He makes sure that these servants are taken care of. He increases those with “open hands” towards those He cares about—the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the homeless. Those with closed hands, hanging on to their stuff, will become poor and oppressed, in a negative sense. The one who scatters, in this context, scatters seed—His Word—and love, joy, peace, and all the Kingdom attributes. They share their goods. But, the one who holds back because of selfishness, sentimentality, and possessiveness, will come to ruin.
The message is going forth from many now for those true believers in the West to simplify their lives, downsize their possessions, and in general “lighten ship”—for a storm is coming.
The word has gone out for a long time that we must get out of debt and stay out of debt. Under martial law if you owe anything, property (houses, cars, boats, household goods, and land property, will be confiscated, or you will be forced into labor to pay it off what they cannot confiscate.
Those who try to hold onto their possessions with a bulldog grasp, are the ones the Master talks about when He warns us that “those who try to save their lives will lose them, but those who give their lives, lay down their lives, for His sake,
will save their lives.” But, so few are listening!
At one time in my life I had a most beautiful home in the country in North
Carolina—plus over an acre of land surrounded by forest and a stream, well water that tapped into an underground river, plus I had beautiful furniture and many beautiful things, and my own car, too.
But, while living there in North Carolina, when we were prospering, I gave away good furniture to needy families, and groceries, and clothes, other things that some poor believers needed. I always used my cars to drive other people places, pick up children from school, and take people to church. When I became poor and was on food stamps, I used 10% of my food stamps to buy food for the poor. When I stood in government food lines to get my monthly ration, I gave part away. When we had little to eat, I bought food for the poor to take to my church. I never considered myself poor.
When I was pregnant with my fourth child, I had no baby clothes for her. Yet, my oldest daughter and her friend found four grocery sacks full of nice baby clothes, from newborn to age 4, by a dumpster trash bin out in the country, while they were walking. They took it to the other girl’s mother who washed all the clothes and then gave the clothes to me.
When we was poor, at different times from 1966, people gave us clothes, gave us furniture, gave us food, and took us places in their car. One time, we had $20.00 for our week’s food supply. But, at the church we were asked to bring food for the poor. So, I took the $20.00 and bought food for the poor to take to church. I had so much fun. Then at 4:00 that the afternoon, a truck pulled up loaded with food, and brought us over $100.00 worth of food. I love to give. And the Father loves to give, too. The old expression: “You can’t out-give the Father”, is true.
The poor in this life, who are rich in faith, never consider themselves poor. They are a joyful people because they are always looking for ways to bless others!
Pearl Anderson was a true believer, who lived at the top of the hill, above our first house in North Carolina. Pearl’s door was always open to me. After she harvested her garden’s vegetables in August, she always left some for me to harvest. She recently died not long before her 102nd birthday. She was poor, but very rich in faith—a tremendous blessing to me!
The world has too few Pearl Andersons in it. The mentality of the rich is that they are always looking for ways to bless themselves. Even poor people can be like this—greedy. But, those who are “rich in faith” have a totally different attitude towards life. Pearl was consistent. For 20 years, her husband was in deep depression. She had to do all the work by herself. At age 70, she learned to drive a car. Even when her husband died, and later her son was murdered, and when her oldest daughter dropped dead suddenly, she maintained a quiet peaceful faith in the goodness of the Father. When Pearl got too feeble to live at the top of the hill, her daughter Marilyn took her into their home, and cared
for her until she had to be placed in a rest home, because she had become totally blind and very feeble. I visited her in the rest home in Atlanta with Marilyn. Pearl was so happy. She kept telling me funny stories that she remembered about my children, when she babysat them. What a sharp memory that woman had! She was always joyful and peaceful—never, ever did I hear any complaints from her lips. What a testimony!
One of the strangest phenomenon that I have observed for many, many years, is that it the poor who are the most generous. The Apostle Paul noted that the poorest of the assemblies were the only ones who supported him. (Philippians 4:15, 19) So many times, the Father has asked me to give ALL THAT I HAVE. No promises of getting anymore, either. But, when I obey, He never fails me. I
have so many stories of miracles because I obeyed and gave everything we had—all of our money—and then He came through and did the miraculous.
In fact, to test our heart, He often asks us to do things and give things that we treasure—that we hold on to—in order to see if our heart is pure or not.
Mark 12:41-44: “And sitting opposite the treasury, He saw how the people
put copper into the treasury. And many rich ones put in much. And a poor widow came and threw in two small copper coins, which amounted to a cent. And calling near His disciples He said to them, `”Truly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those putting into the treasury, for they all put in out of their excess, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her entire livelihood”. Proverbs 19:17: “He who shows favor to the poor, lends to Yahuweh, and He repays his deed”. Proverbs 21:13: “Whoever stops his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard”. Proverbs 22:9: “He that has a bountiful eye (Hebrew idiom for beinggenerous) shall be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” Proverbs 28:27: “He who gives to the poor shall not lack: but he that hides his eyes shall have many a curse”. Isaiah 29:18-19: “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the Book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness, and the meek shall increase their joy in Yahuweh, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”
“In that day” is an expression for the day of Messiah Yahushua’s return. In that day, the poor of the earth shall rejoice, while the fate of the selfish is found in Revelation 6:14-17.
The people of Israel were very religious, even fasting on certain days. But, they had little heart for helping others. Isaiah 58:6-8 addresses their attitude: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? – To loose the banks of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out into your house, when you see the naked that you cover him, and that you hide not your self from your own flesh? THEN shall your light break forth as the morning, and your health shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you—the glory of Yahuweh shall be your rear-guard”.
Those who have and yet give of their lives to others, will, in the days of great tribulation, be taken care of in the most miraculous ways.
By American standards I have been very poor most of my life, even when I was working full time. But, by average Third World standards I am rich. I am very blessed! Our attitude must always be that of Paul in Philippians 4:11-13:
“Not that I speak concerning need, for I have learned to be content in whatever state I am. I know what it is like to be humbled, and I know what it is like to have excess. In any and every situation I have learned both to be filled, and to be hungry, both to have excess and to be in need. I have strength to do all, through Messiah who empowers me”.
A careful reading of Matthew 6:19-33 is humbling. We are to live life totally without cares. Matthew 6:31-33: “Do not worry then, saying `What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or “What shall we wear?’ For all these the gentiles seek for. And your heavenly Father knows what you need of these. But, seek you first the Kingdom of Elohim, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”. I Peter 5:5-7: “…Gird yourselves with humility towards one another for `Elohim resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble’. Humble yourselves, then, under the mighty hand of Elohim, so that He may exalt you in due time—casting all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you”. The poor, rich in faith, are girded with humility. They have no cares, worries, anxiety or fretting because they trust Him for everything. The life of George Mueller stands as an example of one who trusted Him for everything—a man who was very poor, yet he housed and taught thousands of orphans, gave out hundreds of thousands of Bibles and Bible teachings, helped support many missionaries on the field—including Hudson Taylor—and ran several day schools for adults and youth. How did he do that? Read The Autobiography of GeorgeMueller. He said as the daily needs increased for the orphans, that people
asked him if he didn’t spend all his time worrying about money. He said that he did not worry at all, because he had learned to trust the faithfulness of the Father.
I also recommend the classic: Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret, written by his grand children, I think, who were working in China as missionaries.
Luke 6:38 is often quoted as a formula: “Give, and it shall be given to you—good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, shall men give to your bosom. For with the same measure that you use to give, it shall be measured back to you”. So many are sucked into a false thinking, because they are desperate for financial help. So, they figure if they give $50.00, that surely He will bring them $5,000.00. But, this is far different that Messiah’s admonition:
Matthew 10:8: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons, freely you have received, freely give”.
Messiah gave this command to His disciples who had given all to follow Him. What did they receive in order to give out such demonstrations of the power of Elohim?
Luke 10:19: “Behold I give unto you power to treat on serpents and scorpions (symbols of demonic powers) and over all the ability of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you”. In Acts 3:6 Peter heals a crippled man. The man is a beggar. Peter sees him
begging and says to him: “Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee, in the Name of Yahushua Messiah, rise up and walk”. (King James Version)
The man stood up and walked. Peter was poor—rich in faith. What Messiah gave to Peter, Peter freely gave to this man. What did Messiah give Peter: He gave him the power and authority to use His Name! (John 15:7,16; 16:23-24)
His disciples learned to be branches—conduits—of His power. He freely gave, as the root gives life through the branch to produce the fruit. They had nothing but faith. Faith gets “self” out of the way and lets Elohim be Elohim! They step aside and let Him do His will through them freely.
John 15:16: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father IN MY NAME He might give it to you”. The poor, rich in faith, have access to the power of Elohim, because He can trust them with it. They are not going to get in the way of His power moving through them. They are not going to usurp His authority for their benefit. They are child-like—humble, obedient, meek--and powerful.
Moses was called the meekest man on earth, yet he could lift his rod cause plagues on Egypt, and the Red Sea to part. (Numbers 12:3)
This is why in Third World nations, child-like believers have prayed for blind people who have no eyeballs, and watch as eyeballs form and the person sees clearly. This is why they are raising the dead. This is why the cripples are walking, the dying are restored to life, and the demons are driven out.
When I was in Africa, I prayed for a woman who was deaf. I cast out the “deaf spirit”, as Messiah taught us to do. I went and sat down to begin the service. I watched her face go from shock to more shock, to extreme excitement. She came up and threw herself across my lap—she could hear.
“Blessed are the poor, rich in faith”. These are the ones who INHERIT the Kingdom of Messiah. If you will enter the Kingdom, realize that the door is very narrow—it being nothing less than death to self.
Matthew 7:13-14: “Enter in through the narrow gate! – Because the gate is wide, and the way is broad, that leads to destruction—and there are many who enter in through it. – Because the gate is narrow and the what is hard pressed, which leads to life—and there are FEW WHO FIND IT”. The gate is hidden to those who don’t see the principles of His Kingdom—who only see the ways of this world.
There is no more powerful name in the universe than the Name of Yahuweh/Yahushua. When He backs us with His authority, we can do His
works in the earth to set others free. Giving money, clothes, food, rides, and goods is wonderful. But, when we know Him and His Word, He can trust us with His Name to speak deliverance and salvation into other’s lives—healing, miracles, and even to raise the dead. The poor do not have to have money to do His work—all they have to do is have faith, and He takes care of the rest.
Some ministers use the last part of Luke 6:38 to bring in big offerings. People figure that the more they give, the more they will get back—kind of like investing in stock on Wall Street, or betting on a horse at the race track.
I have found that He does not consider the importance of my gift according to the amount of the gift, or value of the gift, but according to what is in my heart. Short example: One night Father asked me to give our last $35.00 to an evangelist. The next day the electric company was going to turn off our power, since our monthly bill was $400.00. But, I gave the $35.00. The next day a social service agency called and told us they had paid the whole $400.00.
It is because the poor give out of the love of the Father, that He chooses these poor to inherit His Kingdom!
He looks on our heart and sees the MOTIVE for giving, and blesses us thusly.
Giving of our self must be a daily attitude. There are many ways to give. Let
Him direct your giving. Sometimes we give into bad “soil”—give to people who are shysters and rip-off artists. Never let a preacher manipulate you to give by their pleading, or showing pictures of dying children, or other gimmicks they use to get money out of the tender-hearted. Let Him guide your giving—because He knows who really needs help, and who does not.
Giving to keep lights on in a building is not “good soil”. The Romans started the “church” system—and it is still Roman. The pattern for the true assemblies is found in I Corinthians 14:26. Many churches haul in millions of dollars for a new church or for things like new pews, now carpet, air conditioning, a new choir loft, a remodeling of the kitchen, or an increase in the pastor’s salary, and have no budget for the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the stranger. This is an abomination to Yahuweh.
American culture leads many to put their parents in nursing homes, rather than caring for them in their homes. I realize that some elderly parents need special help—that is different. But, the selfishness of the American lifestyle that separates families is not of the Father. In some countries I visited, where the people take others into their homes that are outside their families, there is wonderful joy and love--places like Russia, Mongolia, Jordan, Israel, China, and of course African nations. It is common and typical for believers, especially pastors and evangelists, in Africa, to take in orphans. Some I was in homes of pastors who were caring for as many as 35 orphans, besides caring for their many children. Building extra places for orphans was natural—feeding orphans was natural. They had no orphanages—but the churches took care of the widows and orphans as Father gives us command in the Word. These pastors were very poor. Their homes were mud and cow dung, or cement block, and their food came from their own gardens and animals. Again—why is it that the poor give to the poorer and are more blessed with peace and joy, and love and friendship, than the rich?
Yet, I’ve heard lost of ministers and other supposedly strong believers tell me that they couldn’t take anyone into their home, because someone might break something, or tear something up, or stain something. So many ministers live in big homes—with small families. The Father blesses us so that we can bless others. If we do not bless others, He will remove our stuff. When our stuff becomes so precious that we fear for others to touch it lest they tear it up, break or stain it, then it is not just stuff, it is an idol—a god. I realize there are precious things that we need to keep nice—you don’t put your diamond wedding ring in the dog dish--but I’m talking about stuff.
These poor that He leaves in the midst of the Land during His Kingdom reign, will not be struggling to survive. They won’t be on the street corners of Jerusalem with a tin cup held out for coins. These are His catalysts for much blessing throughout the Kingdom. As others give to them, they will be blessed. The very lives of these poor testify to His faithfulness and goodness
to take care of them. They will be Yahushua’s delight! Right now, the poor of this world rich in faith are His great delight!
Today He rejoices at those precious ones who are risking their lives to take the Good News from one village to the other, even in the middle of great persecution. I have met with different ones in different places, and always it is very humbling to find a real first-century believer today, who is willing to risk everything to spread the news of His salvation.
I remember learning about the elderly Chinese grandmother who was an evangelist. She was arrested and put into a filthy prison to scrub the floor toilets. As “Auntie Alice” scrubbed the filthy mess on the floor, she witnessed to the prisoners about the Savior. Many came to faith in Him. When the prison guards wanted to change her duties to something better, she asked them to let her scrub floor toilets in another prison. This way, even in prison, she kept spreading the Good News of salvation.
Concentrations camps and horrors are coming to the world, and to the U.S. in particular. Are His people in America ready and willing to be like Auntie Alice?
How will Messiah reward her in His Kingdom?
The martyrs who are beheaded for their testimony will rule and reign with Him. Those who live martyred lives also—the word “martyr” means: “witness”. (Revelation 20:6)
Today, in His spiritual Kingdom, he leaves the poor and needy, the widows and orphans, so that His people can give and be blessed—so everyone is blessed.
If we see our possessions as His possessions, and us as caretakers to do His perfect will with these possessions, then we will be free of the attachment that comes from possessiveness.
In order to be purified in the fire, one has to submit themselves to the blaze—admitting sin-- in order for their dross (their sin, pride, attitudes, doubts, unforgiving nature, hate, and etcetera) to be burned up. We will go through fire either here or at our judgment. See I Corinthians 3:10-15—at the Judgment seat of Messiah, we will have our works put through the fire, and only those works of pure gold, silver and precious stones will remain – all else will be burned up.
It is through suffering that we are purified. Humility, contriteness, brokenness, and a servant-attitude is required for reward. Therefore, those whom He leaves in the midst of Judah, those who totally trust Him and depend on Him, are His prize servants—His prize trophies of His grace—His prize people. For love of Him, they made themselves poor, that they might be rich in faith, and rich in His presence!
Isaiah 48:10: Speaking to the house of Jacob (all the tribes) Yahuweh says:
“See, I have refined you, but not as silver, I have CHOSEN YOU in the
furnace of affliction”. Zechariah 13:8 speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem to come in the near future: “`And it shall be throughout all the soil’, declares Yahuweh, `that two thirds therein are cut off and die, and one third is left therein. And I shall bring the third into fire, and refine them as silver is refined, and try them as gold is tried. And they shall call on My Name and I shall answer them I shall say: `This is My people’, while they say, `Yahuweh is my Elohim’”. I Peter 1:6-7: “…if need be, you have been grieved by manifold trials, in order that the proving of your faith—much more precious than gold that perishes and proven by fire—might be found to result in praise and respect and esteem at the revelation of Messiah Yahuweh…”
I Peter 4:19: “So then, those who suffer according to the will of Elohim should commit their lives to a trustworthy Creator in doing good”.
Messiah Yahushua allows us to go through the fire, in order to prove our faith. If we are not tested, we don’t really know how strong our faith is.
in these days is purging out a remnant for Himself through the fires of judgment, who will come out as pure gold. When the gold or silver is heated high enough, the dross begins to surface as the metal melts. The craftsman
skims off the dross until there is none left. When the gold or silver reaches a certain temperature of boiling heat, it becomes liquid—pure—undefiled—and the craftsman can look into the liquid gold and see his reflection. Yahushua will put a remnant through the fire until they become “liquid”, and the dross is gone, and the Master can see His reflection in these people! This is what Messiah is saying to the church of the “rich young rulers”—the Laodician assembly of today’s modern money-minded, greedy and worldly church of the West.
The assembly of Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-11, is the assembly who represents the martyrs for their faith in Messiah Yahushua—from the first century to now.
These are “Stephen-type” martyrs (Acts 7), who chose martyrdom rather than deny their faith. These are the ones like those in Hebrews 11:32-38—“OF WHOM THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY”.
Excerpts from the message to Smyrna and to us: “And to the messenger of the assembly of Smyrna write, `This says the First and the Last, who became dead, and came to life: I know your works, and tribulation and poverty—yet you are rich—Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer…He who overcomes shall by no means be harmed by the second death’”.
People in the west who own homes, and cars, and have decent jobs—even those who live “modestly”, are very, very rich compared to most of the world’s people. Over a billion people earn as little as 10 cents an hour, working 12 hours a day—many of these are children, and many of these work in American
“sweat shops”. More people work picking rice than work in any other job on earth—and you can imagine how little rice pickers are paid.
In the West we are very rich—and it has affected our obedience level to the Master, who said to us all: “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to every person”. The Good News is the Gospel of the Kingdom—the Kingdom
principles, the Kingdom covenant, the coming Kingdom, and how to know and interact with the King.
So what about these oppressed and poor people that Zephaniah say He will leave in the Land AFTER He comes? That doesn’t seem logical now does it? American Christians might ask: Aren’t we all going to receive a gold and jewel encrusted mansion? Sorry—that’s a myth that comes from a mistranslation of John 14:2 in the King James Version. Remember Father’s culture is Hebrew, not Greek. He thinks community, family. John 14:2 actually says: “In My Father’s house are many rooms”. In Jordan they build tall houses, with many units, one apartment unit for each of the relatives and their families. In the ancient Hebrew culture, after the engagement, the bridegroom-to-be goes back to his father’s house and builds on a room for he and his new wife. In the East the family unit stays together. This is seen on the Navajo Indian Reservation in America. The grandparents, the parents, the children, the
sheep and goats, all live together in a few round mud and stick hogans, that are placed together so as to use the same outhouse and the same fire pit.
The rich Greek and Roman world’s mocked and looked down on the shepherds and the farmers. Pharaoh and his Egypt looked down on shepherds as lowly beings. That’s why Joseph told his brothers not to tell Pharaoh they were shepherds. But, his brothers were proud of their profession and told Pharaoh that they were shepherds, anyway. Many equate poverty with ignorance—the poor are usually considered to be ignorant or “simple-minded”. Yet, look at the type of people He chose to be the mightiest people: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all shepherds. Their wealth was in their herds of animals. Moses was a shepherd in Midian. King David was a shepherd, and it guided his wisdom in shepherding Israel. Who got the good news of Messiah’s birth first—Shepherds. The disciples were mostly fishermen, but a tax collector snuck in there somehow…smile.
Repeating Proverbs 13:7: “There is he that makes himself rich, yet has nothing. There is he that makes himself poor, yet has great riches”. The poor, who are rich in faith, trust Him. The rich who become poor for His sake learn how to trust Him and depend on Him. They become “poor in spirit”, which means they are not “high minded”.
These who “make themselves poor” understand that in Him their life is truly rich. Those who totally trust Him have lives like no other people on earth. He
is free to take them into the most fantastic places on earth, and let them watch Him perform is miracles to set people free.
Hear me now: Proverbs 13:7 is not necessarily telling people to quit their jobs. He’s not into our leaving work to go on the government’s Welfare program. That is NOT walking by faith. The welfare programs, if needed, should be very temporary until we find work—not a lifestyle.
In following Him, however, we must wear our work and all of our life loosely so as to always be available to do what He asks of us.
And, yes, He does lead some to quit their existing job, to take on His job. But, Proverbs 13:7 is talking about an attitude, about living a Kingdom principle—that you realize that you own nothing--all belongs to Him, and you are responsible to do with what He’s given to you, as He asks you to do.
Always in our work in secular fields, we must remember this Kingdom principle:
Ephesians 4:27-28, in speaking to new believers: “…give no place to the devil. Let him who stole, steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, so that he may have somewhat to share with those in need”.
The goal of work, therefore, is not your family only, but is also to help others in need. This was the Kingdom principle of the Tenach, where farmers were to
leave grain and corn, and vegetables and fruit in their fields, so that after the harvest, the poor, widow and orphan could “glean” the fields and have food.
He will never ask you to give your junk to the poor, widow, orphan or stranger--your torn clothes, stained clothes, worn out shoes, worn out refrigerator, worn out furniture, stained easy chair, or chipped china. No, He asks us to give what is nice in our eyes—good things. I won’t give away anything that is dirty or has a stain. I trash those things. Several years ago, I heard a report from a missionary who received boxes of used tea bags from “givers” in England. Uh….. I grew up with the “missionary barrel” clothes concept—that whatever you didn’t want, whatever was torn or stained, you could put in the “missionary barrel” to be sent to the missionaries, because they’d left everything anyway, and so must not care how they look. This was the mentality I grew up with in the Baptist circles. These were the unfortunate “called” ones, who were in “full time service”, while the rest of the fortunate people could go on with their lives like any other average American. But, sad to say, this mentality is in some of the best Christians and Messianic people—hidden in their veneer or spirituality.
Luke 12:16-31: Here the rich man looks at his riches, and decides to tear down his existing barns and build bigger ones, because of all the stuff he has acquired. Yet, at his gate was a beggar named Lazarus. Read this and see the end of both. But, I’ve seen all too many “good Christians” replacing good kitchen floors, good appliances, good furniture, and good clothes--not to give to the poor, but just because they “got tired” of the “old stuff”. This is tragic thinking. Those who are chosen to survive the coming world holocaust will live
in caves and desert places, in mountains, and in the wilderness, and be very fortunate to have a good set of clothes, shoes and one coat. Let’s get real here—we are going into a situation where we will lose everything, and maybe our life. To be selfish and possessive now won’t prepare us for the near future.
Luke 12:15: “And He said to them, `Mind, and beware of greed, because one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Now lets look at the word: “CHOSEN”. John 15:16: “YOU DID NOT CHOOSE ME, BUT I CHOSE YOU and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain”.
First of all this is the “fruit” of the re-born nature, found in Galatians 5:22-24. Second, it is the fruit that brings others into right relationship to the Master, fruit that builds people up, and brings health and strength and peace to their “spirit, soul and body”.
Ephesians 1:4: “According, as He has CHOSEN us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be set-apart and without blame before Him in love”. Notice the wording in Luke 6:13: “And when it was day, He CALLED unto
Himself His disciples: And of them He CHOSE twelve, whom also He Named Apostles.”
There are the “called” and there are the “chosen”. Then later on we see that there are the “faithful” – these are three groups with which He dealt and is dealing with now.
Matthew 20:16: “…many are called, but few are chosen”. If few are chosen, then why are they mainly poor people? Why not choose somebody that has money? Isn’t money the key to evangelizing the world? Sorry, but no—the followers of Messiah “turned the world upside down”, but they were considered “poor and illiterate” by their accusers. (Acts 4:13; 17:6)
Our Father is looking for character qualities – not financial statements.
Now I want to go over the wording in Zephaniah, so that you see what kind of people He is going to leave in the midst of His Kingdom.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Hebrew dictionary, #1800: “poor” (“daw-l”) “weak, thin, lean and needy”, from #1809, (“dalal”)—“to slacken, be feeble, be oppressed, bring low, to be emptied, dry up, impoverished, to be made thin.
#1809 is from #1805: “dol-ee”: “a pale, jar, vessel, or bucket for drawing water”. We are either “vessels” of honor or dishonor: II Timothy 2:20
Strong’s Greek Dictionary: #4434 regarding “poor”: “beggar, pauper, poor, to crouch, or beg, to cringe”. These are those who get down low, having nothing else but Him to depend on. We can have things we need, but purposely humble ourselves so that we do not “think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think”. (Romans 12:3)
“It is through much tribulation that we must enter the Kingdom of Yahuweh”. (Acts 14:22)
Isaiah 66:2: “…to this man will I look, even to him who is poor, and has a contrite spirit” (Yahuweh speaking).
This word “poor” here is “aw-nee” #6041 in the Hebrew Dictionary and means: “afflicted, humble, lowly, needy, poor”. His eye is on the poor and needy –
Psalm 12:5: “For the oppressed of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, says Yahuweh, I will set him in safety…” Psalm 72:13: “He spares the poor who has no helper. And He saves the lives of the needy. He redeems their life from oppression and from violence”. Psalm 113:5-8: “Who is like Yahuweh our Elohim, who is enthroned on high? He looks down on the heavens and I the earth. He raises the poor out of the dust and lefts the needy from a dunghill, to make him sit with the nobles—with the nobles of His people”. Mark 10:24-25: “…Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of Elohim! It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of heaven”.
Note: It has been discovered in the Hebrew Matthew that it is not “camel” buta rope. There is one small letter mark difference between camel and rope in the original Hebrew. But, “rope” makes much more sense.
Putting all the meanings of “poor” together, let us look at the bottom line of Zephaniah 3:12: He leaves a people who are lowly, contrite and humble, obedient and child-like, who own little so are totally dependent on Him. They are like “buckets”—that go deep into the well of His mercy and
compassion, and bring up the “water of His Word” from the depths of the well, to give life to the thirsty and spiritually needy ones. But, they also
know how to draw upon Him as their Father, their “Daddy” (Abba), for their own needs.
These poor have no other life than to serve the Master. They love Him so much. They go deep into His wisdom and bring fresh and good spiritual food to those who are so destitute of spiritual strength.
These are the ones who bring up from the heart of the well, the life-giving water—the “living water” that satisfied the soul of man. (John 7:37-30)
These are the ones He feels most content to dwell with “in the midst of the Land”, because all of their lives, they have looked to Him for everything. They know Him, and He knows them. They are FRIENDS. (John 15:14) These have gone deep into His love, drawing on His compassion and mercy for their very lives. He leaves them as an example of the reward of faithfulness. These are the shining lights that reflect His glory only. These are the pure of heart from the persecuted assemblies, those of Hebrews 11:33-38, “of whom the world was not worthy”. Luke 18:14, 28-30: “For everyone who is exalting himself shall be humbled, and he who is humbling himself shall be exalted…And Peter said, `See, we have left all and followed You’. And He said to His disciples, `Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left houses or parents or brothers, or wife, or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of Elohim, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come everlasting life”.
There is great reward for faithfulness.
We can have it all in this life now—or we can “become poor”, being “poor in spirit” so that we might become rich in His Kingdom. True riches are to know Him!
February 8, 2007
Additional Scriptures: Matthew 19:23-24; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 1:52-53; 6:24-36; II Corinthians 6:4-10; I Timothy 6:17-18