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Unlocking Wealth from the Courts of Heaven: Securing Biblical Prosperity for Kingdom Advancement and Generational Blessing
by Robert Henderson
Learn More | Meet Robert Henderson
Revoking the Poverty Spirit
One of the main enemies working against our prosperity in the spirit realm is the poverty spirit. I choose this term strategically in agreement with the scriptures to describe this foe. If we are to prosper, we must see the legal rights of this spiritual adversary annulled. Proverbs 6:9-11 gives us some necessary insight in combatting this spirit in the legal realms of the spirit world.
How long will you slumber, O sluggard?
When will you rise from your sleep?
A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to sleep—
So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.
First of all, notice that this verse declares “your poverty” will come on you. I was in Zimbabwe ministering in a very powerful church. The pastor had asked me if I could teach on how to shift the economy of a culture from a Court of Heaven perspective. I was excited to take on this challenge and seek to bring some enlightenment to this idea. As I stood to teach, I read this scripture. As I did it seemed as if this verse, and in particular these words, jumped off the page at me. I had never seen the “your” in this scripture before. I had always just thought about poverty coming to attack us. However, I am now seeing the “your” with new eyes from this scripture.
As these words from this verse leapt from the page, the Holy Spirit whispered in my ears, “There is a poverty spirit assigned to you [not just me but many, if not all]. If you get into agreement with it, it will claim you and your generations. This will empower it and it will consume and devour your life and the lives of your lineage.” Wow! This was a completely new thought to me. The poverty spirit owns me because it claims me based on my agreement with it. It is mine or yours as the scripture said. In these verses the thing that puts us in agreement with the poverty spirit is laziness and lack of diligence. There are other things that can bring us into agreement with it as well. We will look at some of these also. Now, however, let’s seek to get some more understanding of this thing called poverty that is assigned to us.
The first thing we should know is that being unfaithful and not taking care of business doesn’t just produce natural circumstances. It actually can bring an agreement with a poverty spirit. What starts off as natural activity can produce in us a demonic control that takes ownership of our lives and seeks to fashion our future. This can be deadly and dangerous from a perspective of forfeiting our God-ordained future. For instance, we would think laziness is just an activity that can produce want and need because we don’t take care of our business of being a worker and an enterprising person. This does happen. We are being warned, however, that if we do this enough, even just a little, poverty, which is a spirit, will come and take over our lives and future.
This scripture seems to emphasize being lazy just a little. In other words, it doesn’t take long to grant the spirit of poverty the legal right to consume. It speaks of a little sleep, a little slumber, and a little folding of the hands. It seems that the three things mentioned here are progressive in nature. In other words, one thing allowed produces the next until the spirit of poverty now is controlling our lives. The word sleep is the Hebrew word shehah. It means “to be slack.” It also is the idea of growing old. In other words, there is no energy or vitality. There is no diligence or driving force left in a person. Growing or being old speaks of no vision and dream for the future. Old has nothing to do with age. Old is a mindset and perspective. If we let this develop in our lives, we are setting ourselves up for poverty. A little of this will welcome poverty into our lives.
This verse also speaks of a little slumber. It is the Hebrew word tnuwmah. It means drowsiness. If we let ourselves grow old with no dream or future, drowsiness will come on us. This speaks of depression and no motivation. We have no reason to get out of bed in the morning. There is nothing to capture our hearts and make us excited about life. We must not allow this to conquer us or possess us. This process will invite the poverty assigned to us to overtake us. Now we are not just reaping our time of lack of diligence—now a spirit of poverty is determining our destiny and future.
The third thing mentioned that brings your poverty is a folding of the hands. This Hebrew word is chibbug. It means “a clasping of the hands in idleness.” The idea is that we are not involving our hands in activity and enterprise that could produce wealth, prosperity, and riches for us. Our hands are idle. I remember working for a local city early in my work life right after I graduated from high school. Mary and I were a young married couple and I was feeling the responsibility to provide for us. It didn’t pay very much, but as an uneducated person at the time it was all I was qualified for. I had been raised by my parents to be a worker. Laziness was not tolerated in the home I grew up in. This means that there was put into me a work ethic. I understood if I was to have something, I had to produce it myself. I am thankful for that until this day.
On this first job I had, the supervisor whom I worked under would not allow any of us to put our hands in our pockets. Even if we were standing waiting for something, we had to keep our hands out of our pockets. This might seem foolish today. Yet this older man understood something. Hands in the pocket demonstrated an attitude that wasn’t consistent with diligence and ingenuity. He wanted the work force he was responsible for to not be lazy and in fact to be energetic. He knew that placing our hands in our pockets did not breed in us a worker’s mentality. We were in fact clasping our hands together in idleness. Even if the moment we were in did not demand physical activity, he wanted us mentally ready to work! This is so very important. Many find themselves without this mentality bred into them. They are content to stand idly by rather than to be enterprising and moving with initiative. The problem with this is it can invite the poverty spirit assigned to you to come after you and your future.
Notice that poverty isn’t a condition. It is pictured as a prowler and an armed man. A prowler is one who steals while an armed man is one who is empowered with strength against us. This means poverty is a spiritual entity and personality. When we are dealing with this spirit, we are not combatting a condition; we are seeking to annul the rights of a demonic being that has claimed a right to devour us. The Hebrew word for prowler is halak. It means “to walk.” The idea is this spirit that desires to take over our lives is walking about searching and looking for an opportunity to devour. This is always the nature of the devil. He is always walking to and fro and back and forwards (see Job 1:6; I Peter 5:8). These terms imply he is seeking out and searching for any legal right he can find to devour and steal from us. This is what poverty does. The armed man is the Hebrew word magen. It means “a shield.” It also speaks of the scaly hide of a crocodile. Of course, the crocodile is a devourer. It is telling us that poverty is something that is powerful and not easily dealt with. In its efforts to devour us it is a protected and shielded enemy. This means we should guard ourselves meticulously from giving this thing any advantage over us. Second Corinthians 2:11 warns us to not be ignorant of the ways the enemy employs.
Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Ignorance is a great helper of the devil and his hordes. Through our ignorance he gets an advantage of us. The best thing is to never allow this by becoming wise to his ways. However, if we have fallen prey to this spirit of poverty assigned to us, we can get free from its influence and even dominance over our lives that is prohibiting our prosperity. However, if the armed man has come upon us we must take away the armor in which he trusts. This is what Jesus said in Luke 11:21-22:
When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils.
Sometimes the taking away of the armor that the strong man trusts in is a process. We must stand before the Courts of Heaven and methodically revoke the legal right this enemy is claiming to devour our prosperity. We have looked at laziness and being given to a lack of diligence as one of the things that places us legally in agreement with the prowler/armed man of poverty. There are, however, other issues that can empower this spirit that desires to claim us and our family line. We can never prosper if this spirit legally has control of us and our future.
Poverty finds a right to legally possess when we refuse correction and instruction. Proverbs 13:18 declares lack and shame come from this spirit’s influence.
Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction,
But he who regards a rebuke will be honored.
Having a know-it-all attitude will cause poverty and shame to possess us. The remedy for this is the fear of the Lord. We must walk in the fear of the Lord and realize that God will chasten us and correct us. He does this because of His great love for us (see Hebrews 12:6). If we refuse this correction, we will reap the consequences of our arrogance. We must repent, sometimes, of not repenting. I have found that the Lord will set boundaries that I am not to cross. If I do, I can step into territories where the enemy has legal access to me. God’s correction will keep me from these places if I will pay attention to His correction and walk in the fear of the Lord.
Another thing that grants our poverty access is addictive behavior. Proverbs 23:21 tells us that allowing the craving of our flesh to rule can bring poverty.
For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
When we allow addiction to control our lives, it can grant access to the spirit of poverty. This can be true for us individually. However, if there is a history of alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual issues, and other realms of the flesh out of control in our ancestry, this can have allowed the poverty spirit to claim a bloodline and its lineage. This will cause poverty to become a generational issue. You may look back at your family and see only poverty. This is because of a right someone gave to the devil in your family that allows him to visit poverty on you. You must repent not only for yourself but also for your history. This allows the Courts of Heaven a right to render a cease-and-desist order on your behalf against this spirit of poverty.
The practice of immorality will grant your poverty a right to claim you. Proverbs 6:26 tells us that people can be brought to a place of need and poverty when they misbehave sexually.
For by means of a harlot
A man is reduced to a crust of bread;
And an adulteress will prey upon his precious life.
When people are sexually active outside of marriage the spirit of poverty can claim a right to devour them and their substance. This spirit is a devouring force. Its rights are not just connected to what we do financially. It can claim a right even based on our moral activity. This is why so many people practice other righteous principles of prosperity, yet because of hidden sin in their life the devil has claimed a right to devour them financially. We cannot practice one principle and think it will nullify another one. We must seek to be holy and pure before the Lord. When we do, the rights of the spirit of poverty are rebuked. The same is true for us concerning immorality as it was for addictions. If there are those in our generational past that were whoremongers and adulterers and given to fornication, the poverty spirit can claim this as a right to deny your prosperity. This must be repented of as well so the poverty spirit has no right to claim its assignment against us. This can be a hidden thing the devil would use to exercise his legal right against us.
Adam and Eve also fell under the control of this spirit of poverty. Remember in Genesis 3:17-19 that God placed a curse on Adam because of his sin and rebellion. A part of this curse was diminished returns from his labor.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
Many falsely believe that work was the curse God placed on Adam. This isn’t true. Before the fall of Adam and Eve, Adam was the keeper of the garden. Adam and Eve were to expand the rule of God throughout the whole earth. They were to be busy and enterprising. The curse was not labor. The curse was diminished returns from their labor. The curse was a result of Adam disobeying God and listening to Eve rather than God’s voice and command. If we have allowed someone else to have a greater impact and influence in our life than the Lord, this is called idolatry. God and His voice must be first. If we allow another to take that place, a curse of poverty and diminished returns can be the result. We must repent for any and every place we have allowed this. When we do, we undo the legal right the devil would claim. We see this whole issue of diminished returns in Haggai 1:7-9 and its connection to not placing God in the primary position.
Thus says the Lord of hosts: “Consider your ways! Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord. “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little; and when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why?” says the Lord of hosts. “Because of My house that is in ruins, while every one of you runs to his own house.”
Notice God says to them, “You looked for much, but indeed it came to little.” In other words, there were diminished returns. There was an expectation for so much more than what actually happened. The cause of it was they were placing their own house ahead of the house of God. It caused diminished returns from their labors. The advice of God was to “Consider your ways.” Many times the poverty spirit has a right to us because we are placing our own stuff ahead of God’s. Again, this is idolatry at work. We must repent and ask the Lord to forgive us so that we can see every legal right of poverty revoked and we become free to prosper.
Another issue that can allow poverty to claim ownership of us is found in Proverbs 11:24-25. We are told that withholding more than is right can actually bring a spirit of poverty on us and give it the right to claim us.
There is one who scatters, yet increases more;
And there is one who withholds more than is right,
But it leads to poverty.
The generous soul will be made rich,
And he who waters will also be watered himself.
Whatever we have been granted is for two primary things. According to Isaiah 55:10, we are given bread to eat and seed to sow.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater.
Our financial abilities are for two reasons. They empower us to sow and they empower us to eat. Eating speaks of our needs and wants being supplied. It speaks of provision to have a house to live in, a car to drive, clothes to wear, and food to eat. A portion of the money and finances we have are for these reasons. They are supplied by God to us for these necessary things. However, a portion of our money is to be seed for the sower. We must know how to take the seed portion and use it to invest with for future harvest. If we don’t do this, sooner or later we will run out of bread to eat. Also notice that seed to the sower is given before bread to the eater. In other words, we must make sowing the priority in our lives. Otherwise there will be a day of want and need with nothing to provide for us. This is at least partially what the scripture means when it says, “withholds more than is right.”
Notice we are cautioned that this leads to poverty. It can grant the poverty spirit a right in its assignment to devour us. The critical issue is to discern which portion we have in our care is bread for the eater and which portion is to be seed for the sower. If we eat what we should be sowing, this is withholding more than is right. This means our sowing must not be sporadic but strategic. A good, successful farmer doesn’t sow 50 acres of seed and expect 500 acres of crops. No! He understands a 500-acre harvest requires the sowing of 500 acres of seed. As much as this principle has come under attack by some, it is biblical. This concept didn’t begin with the faith teacher or propagators of the prosperity gospel of our day. This idea originated in the New Testament to some degree with the apostle Paul. Second Corinthians 9:6-7 points out this principle as Paul was instructing concerning financial giving.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
First of all, notice that Paul connects the idea of sowing with giving. This is critical to understand or we might think Paul is talking of planting a natural garden. However, he is clearly speaking of how we give as New Testament believers. His point is that we must give purposely. I like to say, we must do something on purpose. When we give as we have purposed in our hearts, we are doing something on purpose in the spirit realm. We are recognizing the principles of sowing and reaping. We know and believe that our harvest is connected to how much we sow. This is what Paul declared. The return I get is joined to my sowing either sparingly or bountifully. This is why a farmer doesn’t plant 50 acres of his seed and think he is going to get 500 acres of crops. He knows that 500 acres of harvest are because 500 acres of seed was placed in the ground. I realize that some ministers wittingly and even unwittingly have used these scriptures to manipulate the people of God. This never should be. However, the scripture is true. I would point out two very important guidelines relative to this. First of all, whatever we do must be done in and from faith. We can’t just practice a principle or go through the motions. Our sowing must be motivated from a real dimension of faith. We are told in Romans 14:23 that whatever isn’t done in real faith is sin.
But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.
This means that I need real biblical faith in my heart when I give. Faith is a result of revelation. Abraham’s faith was a result of the word he had heard from God through revelation. Romans 4:18 says the power to believe in Abraham’s life came from what he had heard God say.
Who, contrary to hope, in hope believed, so that he became the father of many nations, according to what was spoken, “So shall your descendants be.”
The ability of Abraham to wait on the fulfillment of the promise was because he had heard God say, “So shall your descendants be.” Anytime Abraham began to waiver in faith, he could call to mind what he had heard. The result would be the reignition of real faith in his heart. When we are determining what is seed to sow and what is bread to eat, we must do so from faith. In other words, where do I have real faith operating in my heart. This is what will allow us to do something on purpose. It will also keep us from being manipulated when I discern—do I have real biblical faith for this or am I just doing something in the flesh?
Allow me to give a couple of examples from my own life. I have both sown and given from real faith, but also I have fallen prey to manipulation. Many times people who end up being manipulated are those who have a great heart to please God. This desire will at times drive them to do something in the flesh rather than from the leading of the Holy Spirit. I remember turning on the television and hearing a teacher talk about giving a $1,000 seed. We were in desperate places of need in our life and needed breakthrough. As I listened, I didn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to give, obey God, and get our needed breakthrough. I do know that there can be real victories released through these kinds of things. As a result of our current circumstances, my desperation, and the word I was hearing, I made a commitment to give the $1,000. I went to the phone and, if I remember correctly, gave the money on a credit card. As soon as I did it, I regretted it. I had not moved out of faith but rather out of a mixture and a moment of manipulation, whether it was intended or not. As far as I could tell, I never saw anything happen that I could attribute to this momentary activity.
Let me say that I don’t blame the one who was teaching these ideas. I would even say that I believe in the concepts that were being espoused. It just didn’t birth faith in me to function from. The result was nothing occurring from what I gave. Contrast this now to other times in my life when I have seen God move. One that comes to mind is when we were in the early stages of planting a church that grew and became very strong and influential. In the early days, however, we were struggling financially. There wasn’t enough to take care of the need of the present expression of this church. As I was praying early one morning, I heard the Lord tell me to take $1,000 and give it to a certain other ministry. He showed me there was a log jam in the spirit word and this $1,000 would act as a pry bar and dislodge the logs so they would begin to move again.
A log jam is a reference to the lumber industry where they cut trees down, turn them into logs, and float them down a river to the desired destination. There are times when these logs will get tangled up and stop moving smoothly down the flow of the river. They then have to be dislodged from each other so they can move effectively. This is what I saw in the spirit realm regarding this $1,000 gift I was to sow. It would become the pry bar in the spirit to unlock the logs that were jammed up.
I remember getting up from my place of prayer and going straight to the office, making the check out, and taking it to the post office in those days and mailing it. I did this as quickly as possible so my natural mind wouldn’t talk me out of it by reminding me this was the last little bit we had in the church’s account. I did this in the early morning. By the afternoon people were bringing money into the office for the church. The situation was completely shifted from being in need to having the need met and even more than enough. Something had unlocked in the spirit world as a result of my obedience. The difference between the two stories I have just related was real faith. I gave one $1,000 gift in the flesh as a result of manipulation and need. I gave the other $1,000 out of faith from hearing the word of the Lord in my heart and gaining His strategy.
It is imperative that we give as we purpose in our heart. However, I believe the purposing must flow from a heart of faith produced from revelation and encounters with God in the spirit realm. Lest you think this doesn’t happen very often, I would encourage you that it does. I believe that a lifestyle of giving and sowing produces an ongoing harvest. Psalm 126:6 tells us that whoever habitually operates in these principles will doubtless have an abounding harvest.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him.
Notice the word continually. These principles are not something we sporadically operate in but rather strategically. Again, a farmer doesn’t plan and plant his fields once in a while. He actually may plant them several times a year for the harvest that is desired. So we too must develop a lifestyle of practicing sowing with abundance for the harvest we desire and need for our lives, families, and assignments. When we do, the Bible is explicit. We will doubtless see our full harvest manifest in our lives.
This brings me to the other guideline that is essential to not withholding more than is right. Luke 6:38 gives us great insight into how to progressively increase from these principles.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.
We are told to give. Notice that as we give and practice the principles, we receive good measure. As we continue to discern from the good measure we have received what is bread to eat and what is seed to sow, we can increase to the next level of press down. As we discover from the press down level what is bread and what is seed, we progress to the shaken together place. As we continue, we move into the running over dimension. This is the realm of abundance. In other words, you can secure for yourself a blessed life by paying attention to the promptings of the Lord. These promptings will allow the Lord to bring you into the life you have dreamed of and desire. These terms all describe new realms of living, blessing, and prosperity. However, it is a progressive process that allows us to walk into these realms.
Notice the last statement of this scripture. It declares, “For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” I was asked this question by the Lord. “Who determines your level of breakthrough? You or the Lord?” The answer is we do! The problem with most people is that we keep measuring out the same level and somehow think something new will happen for us. New levels of blessings, breakthroughs, and life flow from new levels of measurements being measured out. This requires us taking new steps of faith in our sowing as the Lord mandates and leads us.
Mary and I have learned this principle. I remember when we learned about the First Fruits principle years ago. I will talk about this later in more detail. This was an offering that we brought at least once a year. On this particular year, a deep desire came into my heart to bring a $10,000 offering to the Lord. We didn’t have $10,000. We told the Lord that if He would bring that money into our hands, we would bring it to Him as a First Fruits offering. God needed us to bring an offering on a level that would allow Him to bless us in the capacity He intended. The money did, in fact, come into our hands. With a deep heart of love and adoration for the Lord, we brought that offering. I can only say that all Heaven broke loose over our lives. When we obeyed the leading of the Lord that was shown us by the deep desire we had, the blessings measured back to us were phenomenal. With the measure we use, it will be measured back to us. As we progressively practice this principle, we can move from good measure to pressed down to shaken together all the way to running over! We will set in motion things in the unseen realm that allow the breaking of every poverty spirit and our ability to move into a life of prosperity, wealth, and even riches.
Lord, as I stand before Your Courts, I ask that any rights the poverty spirit would have to claim me would be revoked. I repent for every place I have come into agreement with this wicked spirit of restriction and limits. I ask, Lord, that You would forgive me and annul any and every right this armored spirit and prowler has claimed against me. Lord, please allow Your blood to speak on my behalf and silence these voices against me in the spirit realm. Lord, I set my heart to be diligent and faithful. I do not allow any laziness to cling to me. I also repent for any places of immorality and uncleanness that would be used to bring me to a piece of bread (Proverbs 6:26). I also repent for any place of idolatry that would allow the devil to bring diminished returns from my labors. I desire, Lord, for my labors to produce abundantly. I set my heart fully on You, Lord, as the One I serve with my whole heart as I forsake all others. I repent also for holding back more than I should. I want to measure out the right measurements for the blessings of God to overtake me and overwhelm me. Thank you so much, Lord, for bringing me into the prosperity, wealth, and riches of the Lord ordained for me. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
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