“To be clever enough to get a great deal of money, one must be stupid enough to want it.”- G. K. Chesterton, A Miscellany of Men
About Naphtali he (Moses) said, “Naphtali is abounding with the favor of the LORD and he is full of his blessing; he will inherit southward to the lake.”- Deuteronomy 33:23 (NIV)
In Chapter 8 (“Redemptive Poverty”) of Finding Favor, Brian Jones relates the top Bible event he’d choose to witness. Pastor Jones would’ve loved to see Moses on the day others helped him to his feet as he addressed God’s people. At this time, God’s people stood on the edge of the Promised Land.
Specifically, Brian centers on God’s blessing to the tribe of Naphtali. Abounding with the favor of the Lord, the tribe of Naphtali settled in the land “southward to the lake.” Thus, Moses referred to Lake Gennesaret, translated in the New Testament as the Sea of Galilee. Furthermore, a thousand years later that exact area served as the hometown area of Jesus.
According to the Roman historian Josephus, the area southward of the Sea of Galilee represented an agricultural Garden of Eden. As a result, Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount audience lived, as Josephus wrote, in “the ambition of nature.”
However, Brian asks us to attend to the first words out of Jesus’ mouth. As Jesus looked at His disciples (Luke 6:20-21), He said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.”
Like Moses’ audience, Jesus’ audience also abounded in favor. But, unlike Moses, Jesus told His listeners they were blessed because they were poor and hungry. Therefore, poverty = a sign of God’s blessing. Whether we’re materially or physically destitute.
In the next post, Pastor Jones underscores that poverty may signal God’s favor as much as wealth.
Today’s question: What do you think G. K. Chesterton really meant when he referred to getting a great deal of money? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “In times of immunity from care”