The South Holland Men’s Society asked for an explanation of. We read there: “I have been young, and now I am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
I suppose that the Men’s Society of South Holland had really no difficulty to understand the meaning of these words as such. They are very plain. They simply state that the poet in his days (and he had lived long) had never seen the righteous begging bread. And these words need no interpretation. The difficulty in the South Holland Men’s Society must have arisen when they compared this statement with reality, when they tried to find the realization of them in actual conditions. And even in Israel at the time of Jesus and the apostles there were beggars. Lazarus in the parable is an outstanding illustration.
I think we must remember the following:
- Under normal conditions, and when Israel walked in the way of the Lord’s precepts, there were no poor in the land of Canaan. This was the promise of God. See . The righteous, therefore, would not be forsaken, nor his seed begging bread in normal conditions. The text means literally that the poet had seen the realization of this promise in the days of his life.
- If the Church in the world understands her calling, the text may be applied to present day conditions also. In normal conditions there is no need for the righteous, even though they be poor, in any church to go begging for bread. The Lord usually gives plenty to any church to provide for all.
- This does not mean, of course, that under no conditions the righteous ever suffer hunger and want. Think of times of persecution for Christ’s sake. Think of the time of antichrist, when those that refuse to receive the mark of the beast, can neither buy nor sell. Besides, if ever the righteous go begging for bread, this may be a testimony against the church, as it was a testimony against Israel in the old dispensation.