From Proverbs 13-15
Do you think yourself rich or poor? Today’s passage has a number of things to say about gaining wealth and what it means to be wealthy. Jesus gets us to rethink our attitude towards money. What are the true riches of this world?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Today’s passage like many in Proverbs has a variety of different sayings. But draws them together again under a fathers instruction to his son.
13 A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
2 From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good, but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.
3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
5 The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.
6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked. (Prov 13.1-6)
Sons (and daughters) who listen to their parents instructions are wise and a credit to their parents.
The people of Israel wanted to encourage parents to instruct their children.
Quite often it pays for a person to think before they speak. Thoughtless words can cause a lot of trouble.
Righteous living has many benefits. The righteous are more than uncomfortable with falsehood, they hate it. The wicked on the other hand engage in deceit. They bring shame and disgrace on themselves and their families.
7 One pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8 The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.
9 The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
10 By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.
11 Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it. (Prov 13.7-6)
“There is a general consensus in the wisdom sayings that wealth is desirable and a mark of divine blessing, but it must be gained honestly through hard work (so 13:11). Risky commercial ventures in expectation of gaining rapid wealth are to be strongly distrusted and resisted.” (Clements, R.E., 2003. Proverbs. In J. D. G. Dunn & J. W. Rogerson, eds. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, p. 450.)
What do you think are true riches?
Sometimes outward appearance is not a true indicator of a persons riches. Verse 7 could allude to money and wealth. However this may not be the case. Riches consist of relationships (God, friends and family), happiness (contentment, joy), good health, knowing who we are and what we stand for and purpose in life.
Sometimes taking advice from another can be humbling. Think twice before responding to criticism or a persons suggestions with scorn.
The wise man compares wealth gained quickly and with that which is gained slowly over time. Wealth gained quickly does not develop a persons self discipline and patience. The author highlights the value of habitually saving. A regular habit can grow a tidy sum.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.
15 Good sense wins favor, but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.
16 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge, but a fool flaunts his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful envoy brings healing. (Prov 13.12-17)
If hope is continually put off and frustrated, a person will eventually give it up. Desire fulfilled gives people experiences they can use to sustain them in the future. To continue hoping and knowing it will eventually come about.
Obeying the LORD’s commandments brings its own rewards in life. His commands are intended for peoples good.
People who consistently give good advice and demonstrate it in their lives will become a positive influence for others. The reverse applies as well. Foolishness will become a persons downfall.
18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is honored.
19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
21 Disaster pursues sinners, but the righteous are rewarded with good.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food, but it is swept away through injustice.
24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite, but the belly of the wicked suffers want. (Prov 13.18-25)
The author highlights the value of good instruction.
Who have you benefited most from by their instruction?
Our peers can have such a significant impact on the outcome of our lives. Yet God’s people are called to show compassion to sinners.
The author implies the wealth of a good man remains in his family. They profit from his moral stand for several generations. The sinners wealth is given to the righteous because they have been judged by the LORD. It does not seem to pass on to their children. Nor does it say they have any children to start with.
Loving discipline sets children on the right course in life. How would you discipline your children?
For some people the wealth and prosperity is simply a pose hiding deep poverty, while others may publicly deny being wealthy. Not recognising they are in truth rich.
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16 And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Lk 12.13-21)
What do you think are true riches?
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.