Soul Poverty

Proverbs 10:2-3 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”

I am continually amazed how, when reading the Word of God, I see things and am shown truths I previously had not.

Such is the case in these verses.

They speak of physical treasures and substances that a person will accumulate. Yet, the statement: “The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish” hit me in a way that caused me to think.

Webster’s dictionary defines famish as

“To be distressed with want; to come near to perish by destitution.”

Our mind, will, and emotions are what make up our soul. To be in poverty in any one of these can be devastating. Depression, anxiety, fear, and many other maladies have come upon God’s people in such magnitude that it incapacitates them for service.

We could call this a famished soul or soul poverty.

So often, we look to have the world fill our needs. The comfort of body, soul, and spirit, are best met when we are in the will of God and have a new awareness of His presence in our lives. 

Jesus told His disciples and us that He needed to go away so that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, could come.

John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.”

So, how can a saved child of God be famished in their soul?

Paul told the church at Corinth that they could be saved, yet so as by fire.

1 Corinthians 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

I do not wish to oversimplify, but it all depends on who you are living for.

When a saved child of God lives as God would have them, they will experience the peace, power, provision, and protection that is promised. We call that righteous living.

When that same child of God forsakes the way God has for them and pursues their own way, they will reap what they have sown. 

Galatians 6:7-8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

Because the gestation period of most things takes time, we do not see immediately reap what we sow. Sin is not immediately judged. Departing from the path God has does not set off bells and whistles cautioning us of our error.

I truly wish it did!

The longsuffering of God allows us to see from His Word that we are in the wrong and, by our own decision, come back to the way of righteousness. Being made to walk and talk right would be controlling and manipulative on God’s part.

He wants us to do as He desires out of love and gratitude.

The poverty of one’s soul can linger when we fail to ‘right the ship’ if you will. As the job of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin, it is our job to uncover, confess, forsake sin and restore the relationship given us by salvation.

We can become numb to sin. We justify the reasons why it is acceptable. We compare ourselves with others thinking, “I’m not as bad as so-and-so,” and push aside the Holy Spirit’s conviction, neglecting the warning He provides.

If you are God’s child, He will not allow you to live there for long. The correction that the Father brings into our life comes from a heart of such love.

Proverbs 3:12 For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”

Hebrews 12:6-7 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?”

It is possible to say then, that the poverty of our soul comes when we forsake what God provides for us to be full?

The admonitions of God’s Word are far too many to list here but suffice it enough to say that God provides exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think.

In our lifetime, we all have periods of being famished. When we recognize our lack and come to the One who can fill us, that period will not last long. But, the poverty of a soul is not immediate nor easily recognizable.

Sin must be exceedingly sinful to us as we remain diligent against allowing it to linger in our hearts and lives.

Romans 7:13 Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.”

By the Word of God, we know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad. Our souls will become famished when we forsake the daily feeding and filling that God’s Word provides.

It must not be relegated to a check on a checklist that we keep to regulate our Bible reading.

Read to hear His voice.

Read to be touched by His hand.

Read to be affected deeply by what you read.

Read to have God deal with you as His child.

Paul revealed his heart when he said:

Philippians 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death

Knowing God and pursuing Him in a close, a personal relationship will keep our hearts alive unto righteousness and dead unto sin.

When we have a daily touch and a fresh awareness of His presence in our lives, we will shine to a world that desperately needs the hope we have in Jesus Christ.

Is your soul a bit dry and dusty? Feel a bit parched in your spirit? Our loving, Heavenly Father wants us to live a full and abundant life in Him.

Serving God will not fill your soul. Doing things for God will never fill us like doing things with God can.

God must first work in us before He can work through us!

Come to the water of life and drink to the full. 

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