The power of poverty…

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Psalm 70: 4 Let all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you. Let those who love your salvation say evermore, “God is great!” 5 But I am poor and needy; hasten to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay! 

This psalm, like many others, is attributed to King David. Apparently David is in trouble with enemies and cries out to the Lord for help. I’m particularly interested in the first part of v.5 “But I am poor and needy…”

Let’s be clear – David is a king. He is not poor and needy in the conventional sense of material resources, but is helpless to deliver himself from trouble. In essence, when he says he is “poor and needy” he means he is completely at the mercy of God to save him. Without the Lord’s intervention David will perish.

I’m also reminded here of Jesus’ “sermon on the mount” in Luke 6 in which he begins with, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Jesus isn’t talking about a material state of poverty any more than David in today’s psalm passage. It refers more to a poverty of agency, the inability to save oneself or deliver oneself from trouble.

Finally I’m reminded of the apostle Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 12:9 in which God says, “My power is made perfect in weakness”. In the Kingdom of God there is freedom in complete dependence. It’s in that posture of humility that God most readily acts on our behalf. David understood this, as did Jesus and the apostle Paul.

This morning I’m wondering where in my life I need to embrace the power of powerlessness. Where am I depending on God, and God alone, to act on my behalf? Lord Jesus, teach us to walk humbly with you and see the power of the Kingdom of God come to life in and through us. Amen.

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