Better the little that the righteous have

    than the wealth of many wicked;

17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,

    but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care,

    and their inheritance will endure for ever.

19 In times of disaster they will not wither;

    in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish:

    though the Lord’s enemies are like the flowers of the field,

    they will be consumed, they will go up in smoke…

25…I was young and now I am old,

    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken

    or their children begging bread.

These words can hearten us, especially in the light of trying economic times. Generations of believers have been able to articulate their own testimonies, in words similar to those of the psalmist in (25). With the hindsight of years of experience, we can look back and speak of God’s faithful goodness.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1).

Derek Kidner entitles  verses 12-26 The hidden help, and then he divides them up in this way:

12-15: Persecuted but not forsaken

16-20, 25: As having nothing, and yet possessing all things

21,21,26: Making many rich

23,24: Cast down, but not destroyed

He writes: ‘…the righteous man , however poor he is, has better prospects as well as a better conscience than the godless. The Gospel sayings, like those of 17-19, take full account of temporal needs (e.g. Matt.6:31ff; 19:29); and in the psalm as in the New Testament the real security and wealth lie not ‘in uncertain riches, but in the living God’ (1 Tim.6:17, AV).’

In 1990, I, and a few friends from a church in Leeds, took our first steps towards planting a Bible-believing church in the village of Boston Spa, in West Yorkshire. In those early days especially, I was inspired by biographies of various Christian leaders and missionaries, and always stirred by stories of God’s miraculous provision. For example, missionary Hudson Taylor’s dictum that ‘God’s work, done in God’s way, will never lack God’s provision’ left a deep imprint on me. In many ways, I saw that we too were involved in a missionary task. We were pioneering in a village where (to the best of our knowledge) there was no overt evangelical witness. Looking back now, from the vantage point of almost 32 years, I can say that God’s provision has been abundant, and I’m profoundly grateful.

We do not know how tough the days ahead will become. As God’s people we have to try to live as wisely and prudently as we can. For example It’s not right to amass needless debt and then say we are struggling, and expect others to bail us out. That said, if we are blessed with surplus, we should evaluate our responsibilities towards those who are in genuine need. But may we all know that even if things come to a ‘worst case scenario’, we have access to the ‘cheque book’ of God’s promises, and He will not fail or forsake us (see Hebrews 13:5,6).

PRAYER: Lord, help me to not fret or fear, but trust in your promises, and live wisely and responsibly before you.