In Jesus’ time it was a common belief that great wealth was a sign of God’s favor and poverty was God’s punishment for sin. Some Old Testament verses do reflect the idea that poverty is a natural consequence of foolish actions (Proverbs 6:9-11, 20:13, 23:21). However, Jesus denied that wealth is a sign of God’s favor or that poverty is God’s punishment for sin. This is shown most clearly in His Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). At least part of the reason the rich man ended up in hell was because of his hard-heartedness toward the beggar Lazarus. His great wealth was obviously not a sign of God’s favor. The beggar Lazarus ended up in heaven although he was about as impoverished as a man could be. His poverty was obviously not a sign of sinfulness or foolishness. Despite the Bible’s many warnings against it, the idea that wealth is a sign of God’s favor and that the poor have done something to deserve their condition persists as an undercurrent today that is sometimes used to justify a callous attitude toward those who are poor. Related verses: Proverbs 15:16-17, Ecclesiastes 5:10-12, Luke 1:52-53, 6:20, 6:24-25.