The art of begging has become more commonplace in the last 20 years. In the past, beggers were looked down upon. It was a disgrace to ask repeatedly for something one did not have. However, times have now changed and beggers are everywhere in the big cities. Begging is often seen as a way to survive and even thrive. One can continue to collect food stamps and unemployment and make additional money through begging. There are reports of people making thousands of dollars a year through begging.
As a believer in Yeshua, it is tempting to provide beggers the money they are looking for. Sure, they may spend this on all the wrong things, but why should we care? After all, as believers in the Messiah, we are called to be generous. However, it is important to take a step back and discover how God views beggars to ensure that our actions are in-line with His desires.
From even a brief study of scripture, it is evident that God is not happy with the practice of begging. Some scriptures regarding begging include:
- Psalm 37: 25- 26 states “I have been young; now I am old; yet not once have I seen the righteous abandoned or his descendants begging for bread. All day long he is generous and lends, and his descendants are blessed.”
- Proverbs 20:4 states “A lazy person won’t plow in winter; so at harvest time, when he begs, there is nothing
- Psalm 109: 9-10 in discussion about a wicked man ruling the people – “May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow. May his children be wandering beggars, forging for food from their ruined homes.”
- Luke 16:3 in the parable of Yeshua, the man is “ashamed to beg.”
Beggars are described as not righteous, lazy, and the practice of begging is seen as disgraceful. So, let’s dig even a little deeper and understand the meaning of the Hebrew word for begging. The word to beg in Hebrew is pronounced “Shiel” and includes the letter sheen and then God’s name, “El.” This word literally means the destruction of God. So, God is saying through His language that begging is what results when He has been destroyed or taken out of a community! God’s desire is for man to live in community of believers and for those with more resources to help out those with less. However, when this doesn’t happen, many people do not have a thirst for God and do not desire to follow Him in obedience and love. In fact, they seek to destroy God’s name through lack of faith and obedience. Instead of begging, it is important to go to God for everything we need. Does He not promise to provide (Matthew 6:25-34)?
So, it is important not to beg ourselves, because begging does not honor God. However, how do we treat someone who is begging us for resources? Luke 18: 35-43 provides the story of a blind beggar who was miraculously healed by Yeshua. As Yeshua was walking by, this beggar cried out “Yeshua, son of David, have mercy on me!” Those around him rebuked his action, but the man repeated his call. Yeshua called the man to Himself and healed his vision, explaining- “Your faith has made you well!” Then, the people that saw this gave glory to God.
In a similar fashion, Peter (Kefa) and John (Yochanon) healed a beggar in Yeshua’s name in Acts 3: 1-6. The beggar in this story first asked Peter and John for money, but Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Yeshua of Nazaret, rise up and walk!” The man was healed.
In both of these accounts, monetary resources were not given to the beggars. Instead, healing in Yeshua was provided to transform the beggar into someone who no longer needed to beg! It is the life transformation that matters. Otherwise, the beggar will spend the money on alcohol, or food for a day, and then go on and continue begging.
Therefore, it is important to address the underlying reason beggars are begging and see if Yeshua will redeem them so they cease begging for life. God will heal them, if they have faith and will turn from their ways. In order to be a part of God’s work in this area, we need to be willing to engage beggars, understand their story and be willing to share God’s story with them. We should be willing to heal them in Yeshua’s name, even if this is uncomfortable for us! Our compassion and desire for God’s kingdom on earth should drive us to action! The reward is great. Afterall, what speaks more of God’s kingdom than a man who has been born again, completely turning from his past ways of sin?
Lastly, the increase in number of beggars should be a reminder to us that we are living in a time where the voice of God has been drowned-out. Our society has sought to destroy God and keep his presence out of our community streets, workplaces, and schools. This effort is the work of Satan, the adversary. Satan does not want the beggars to call upon the name of the Lord for healing and resources.
In the beginning, the extreme evil in the world was drowned in the flood of Noah. The name Noah means Grace in the Hebrew, so God showed His Grace by destroying the evil in the world! However, God was merciful to those who were faithful throughout this time. Warning signs were provided of the coming flood, such as: Methuselah, who’s name means “when he dies it will come” and the construction of the arc by Noah. Noah’s neighbors ridiculed him, yet Noah remained steadfast and continued with the construction, as per God’s instruction.
Our response should be similar. For “the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah” (Matthew 24: 37). We should take note of the warning signs for our era and prepare accordingly. We need to embrace the command of Yeshua to “Stay alert, watch and pray that you will have the strength to escape all the things that will happen and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.” We need to embrace the bigger picture of God’s plan for this era and become a part of it! A kind word here and there is not enough. God desires dedication from us and the production of good fruit from our life. Good fruit includes sharing the ways of God with those in need and being willing, ready, and available for spiritual and physical healing.