Proverbs 19:17

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
– Proverbs 19:17

Oppressing or mocking the poor will meet with retribution (Proverbs 14:31; 17:5). This proverb gives the same connection. To mock or give to the poor is to mock or give to God, respectively. Jesus affirmed this in the judgment narrative in Matthew 25:40, 46. The word for pity means to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior. The context with lendeth and pay him again, obviously indicates a giving to the poor. The second phrase promises a recompense for compassionate generosity. God promises reward that could come in different forms and at different times (Proverbs 11:24-25; 28:27).

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Proverbs 11:24

There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
– Proverbs 11:24

This proverb and the next two deal with generous giving and its reward. This first proverb reveals God’s counterintuitive economy. The one who scatters is the one who gives generously with an open hand. It would seem that generous giving would diminish and reduce a person to poverty. Yet, wisdom teaches the contrary that it increases a person. He that withholds is stingy, greedy, and grasping. They cannot and will not give because they believe it will lead them to poverty. Yet, wisdom teaches that is exactly what happens to those who withhold.

The few proverbs here don’t give a full explanation of the rewards for giving, but we can fill out that picture from the rest of Scripture. Some have erred badly here by supposing they have found some secret to growing rich on this earth. Prosperity preachers grow rich by selling this erroneous notion to eager coveters. God does reward generous giving (Deuteronomy 15:10-11; Psalm 112:9; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9). The few verses referenced sufficiently show that God’s reward of giving is not to make a person wealthy on this earth. He rewards giving by the giver having sufficient for his needs and to keep on giving. Unquestionably, some of those rewards are spiritual rewards and treasure laid up in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).

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