Generosity and the poor

I’m reading Deuteronomy in my quiet times at the moment (and enjoying the Old Testament!) and I have another question:

Deut 15:4 …there should be no poor among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you,
Deut 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your borthers and toward the poor and needy in your land.

My question was, how can it be that there should be no poor, but there will always be poor?

I think I just worked out the answer, in twofold:
a) Deut 15:5 … if only you fully obey the Lord your God and be careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today.
Obviously, no one is good at following God’s commands, and so I suppose we should expect poor to be among us (or among the Israelites, in this context) because people are greedy and would rather not be generous and give up abundance. #1 God’s people fail to keep the covenant.

b) God promises to bless his own people in the land, but there may be foreigners, servants and slaves who also live there, who the Israelites are to be generous to, e.g. as in Deut 15:12-18.

Even in reading this chapter, if I were in their position, I would feel like I were getting ripped off, in having to cancel debts after 7 years. But, “Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deut 15:10).

On reflection, I don’t think I am generous with my money, and indeed spend money on things that I don’t really need. God has been very kind to me, including in material provision. I am so thankful for the people who do support me financially, as well. I could be spending my money more wisely. I shall attempt to live frugally and be more generous in giving away.


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