Read through Proverbs in 31 days, Today’s reading is entitled “Earthly Treasures Contribute Nothing Toward Eternity”
Read Proverbs 11 – We tend to read our own physical needs into the statements made in God’s Word. Consider Proverbs 10:3a – “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry.” It is a good guess that you have many Christian friends, those who could be called righteous. Have they, in your knowledge, ever been physically hungry? It is likely that we have all been hungry at some point for some reason. Take a few minutes now to read Matthew 4. Aside from the temptations of Jesus you will see that He was fasting for forty days “and was hungry.” Why should we expect to be permanently exempt from physical hunger when Jesus experienced such a trial? When considering physical hunger, we should also look at the clarification ritual called “fasting.” Many committed Christians practice fasting as a way of cleansing the mind and body in order to better focus on God and His Will in our lives. If the verse mentioned above actually referred to physical hunger, it would be in contradiction with scriptures in Exodus, Daniel, Luke and many others that call for fasting.
What additional ponderings do we need to look at?
- Desire righteous living in order to save your life, avoid the tainted wealth provided by the evils of the world.
- A wise youth harvests in the summer – hard workers will get rich. One who sleeps through the harvest is a disgrace who soon becomes poor. The godly are showered with blessings, leaving behind happy memories.
- The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain, promoting peace and accepting reproof. The loving words of the godly are a life-giving fountain, yet the violent words of the wicked stir up quarrels.
- Accepting discipline will keep you on the pathway to life, while ignoring correction leads the fool astray.
- The godly person who lives wisely receives pleasure and his hopes are granted. Lazy people are an irritation to their employers, like smoke in the eyes.
We have looked at some modern examples of tainted wealth, but what types of “tainted wealth” may have existed during scriptural time? Have you heard the phrase “things never change?” Looking back to scriptural times, as it is today, greed was likely to be a major motivator for illegitimately acquiring wealth. We know that tax collectors would require more than the government in order to pad their pockets. We know that Deuteronomy tells Jews not to charge interest to other believers (23:19). We also know that Israelites tried to collect more manna than they needed for a day. Reading Exodus 16 we can clearly see that the extra manna rotted and was infested with maggots. God provided all that was needed but did not allow anything positive to come from greed.
We see punishment for greed explicitly spelled out in Exodus, but do you believe that a similar punishment happens in the “rich get richer” societies of today? It is not too hard to explain a solid “YES” answer to that question. Look at the stock market crashes in 2009 and 2020 – some wealthy individuals lost more money in a few days than most people are able to make in a lifetime. Some may believe that things just happen while others believe that God is in charge of world economies and individual wealth. Since God has power over nature, He is also in control of the worldwide pandemic currently winding down in mid-2020. Those who know and believe this find comfort and peace even during the storms of life who the many who don’t believe allow themselves to be swayed by the ever-increasing panic generated by the media and the world it worships.
How do people manage to find peace in a storm that threatens everything considered to be normal? I can’t speak for anyone else, but exercising the discipline learned from studying God’s Word certainly helps to get through those excessive trials and even everyday life. As we have seen in the reading for today, “the godly person who lives wisely receives pleasure and his hopes are granted.” Some may say that you are never promised a rose garden, but it sounds like the more accurate way to apply this scripture is “You are promised a life with the beauty of a rose garden along with the thorns.”