“But I am poor and needy; make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay.” Psalm 70:5
Today’s focus text reminded me of the first of the beatitudes recorded in Matthew chapter five: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there’s is the kingdom of heaven.”
Ellen White in the book Thoughts From The Mount Of Blessings tells us that each of the beatitudes defines the experience a person has when they experience the process of sanctification. The first necessary step is the realization that on our own we are poor in spirit.
In our focus text today David both recognizes and declares his poverty with the two fold pronouncement, “I am poor and needy.”
We have no idea when David wrote this psalm. It could have been during the years of his childhood when he was carrying the responsibilities of a shepherd all the while knowing that on his own he was a small defense for his sheep were they to be attacked by a lion, a bear, or a thief. Perhaps it was as a young man, after his victory over Goliath, when with little to no military training Saul gave him command over all of Israel’s army. Or it might have been during his years as a fugitive when he was forced to live relying on the providence of God and the generosity of others.
There are many points in David’s life when he could have described himself this way, even after he became king over Israel and Judah. You see David realized that his poverty was demonstrated by his need for God and not by how many possessions he’d been able to accumulate. We’re never so rich or strong on our own that we surpass our need for God. In fact, the presence of wealth in our lives in many ways increases our need for God.
How so? Jesus himself said that it was easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples marveled at this statement and asked who could be saved Jesus answered with the statement, “With man it is impossible but with God all things are possible.”
You see both the burdens of poverty and wealth are impossible for us to bear without a faithful reliance on God. In our hearts we don’t have the resources to submit ourselves humbly to God. When we’re rich it’s easy to be self reliant, trusting in the help that our money can buy, attempting only that which is within the limitations of our financial resources, and then flattering ourselves that we’ve done all God has called us to do and that it was God who has helped us to do it. When we’re poor it’s easy to give up and attempt little or nothing because of what we don’t have. But when our recognition of our need causes us to turn to God, seeking his wisdom, strength, and direction then we’re truly blessed because now we’ve united ourselves with God.
It’s time to stop being ashamed of being poor. We all are and the sooner we gracefully accept that reality and start turning to God, as David does repeatedly in the psalms, the better off we’ll be.