Will Righteous Children Beg For Bread?

I must admit that this is one of our “shout” texts, but does it say what we want it to say? Psalm 37:25 says “I was young and now I am old, and I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his seed begging bread.” On the face of it is simply a statement of fact for the Psalmist. He has never seen it happen. OK, but then we read it and see it as a promise that our children, if we are true to God, if we pay our tithe, and if we go to church, etc, will never have to worry about food.


However, in a world where whole regions have children dying of starvation, we have to wonder, are we reading this text correctly? In a world where financial gurus bring down economic systems that causes many to permanently lose their jobs, I have to ask is this true. The Psalmist is generally seen as David. If we look at life of David we even see he begging for bread on occasion 1 Samuel 21:3 and 1 Samuel 25:8. And didn’t Uriah seemed forsaken as David himself killed a righteous man. (2 Samuel 11:5-27) Then his own child had to die as a result of this fiasco. Was the child guilty? (2 Samuel 12:18)

Thus whatever the Psalmist meant, he did not mean that the righteous would not ever fall on hard times or even be in a position that seems “forsaken.” Yes, there are some in our churches, elderly, who are eating cat-food and splitting their pills in half trying to survive.

As you know, I don’t like the easy answers. I don’t like the answer that says “well those are simply not righteous.” I say that I don’t think the answer is that easy, but there is our text still staring us in the face.

The Psalmist might have been engaging in homiletic hyperbole. The Psalmist may have just been speaking something that is generally true, namely that the righteous generally are not begging bread. Maybe the Psalmist was speaking to the truth that we can never be ultimately forsaken because God is with us in our pains, hurts, and heartaches. Perhaps the Psalmist is saying that poverty are only transient elements in the life of the child of God.

In the end…I am still wrestling with the text, and this struggle gives me pause and slows me down from quickly using it as a promise for contemporary living. This struggle causes me to recognize that I don’t know if you are going to lose your job. This struggle causes me to recognize that I can’t promise great living down here. But I will hold on to that text tenaciously as Jacob held on to that “man” who was trying to get away. Like Jacob I will say to this text, “I will not let you go till you bless me…” (Genesis 32:26)

About the Author shermancox

  • Shawanda Gordon

    I will be the first to comment. I have just found out that I am getting ready to be laid off of a job I have labored on for 11 years. I don't understand the timing. But I know that God is able and I will be like Jacob and wrestling for my blessing. The thing that I have learned about God is that you never know what he is up to. Although this may seem like a door slamming my face it can and will be turned around to a blessing. I don't know how or when but I know that God knows best. I ask that you keep me and my family in your prayers. I do have young children that I have to provide for. But I know that God is able.

  • Brady Williams

    I have always questioned this Psalm even though I understand that David was a man of faith. I would say just as you have stated, that David was simply making what he thought was a true statement at the time. This is the scripture I have always answered this paradox with (Luke 16:20-31). The story about Lazarus the begger. Also when we look at the fact that the most rightous man of all time was crusified and useing his example, we must face the fact that one day we maybe counted worthy enough to follow his example. This Psalm does teach us a very important lesson about the sovereignty of this present generation. Yes you are right in your assestment of me Brother CoX II. I guess I am kind of like John the Baptist in that he was baptising, something that had not been done before yet as Jesus told Nicodemus, Has always been required. God bless all of you and especially you and your family Brother Cox II in this time of bereavement.

  • […] God cares about our necessities. Now this still brings the question, what about those of us who do not have these necessities. I still wrestle with that idea as I noted before.But on the face of it, the text don’t say what some are trying to make it say. It is a […]