Saturday, May 12, 2007

Wisdom: Not bought with riches

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
-Proverbs 11:4

Riches are great, everyone wants them. They are what make our country run and they are how people judge other people. Riches are a gift from God, they are a way that He provides us with our daily bread. But the Christian Church has not always and still do not look favorably on wealth and riches.

Certainly there are two things to take into consideration in this Proverb. It does not say that riches are bad. It does say that they will not profit us in the day of wrath.
And we certainly see this echoed in Scripture. As Israel, laden with riches, was fleeing Egypt they saw the riches of the Pharaoh pursuing them. They were certainly terrified at the fearsome chariots and gleaming spears and helmets of Pharaoh’s army. They may have thought for a moment that they could buy their safety with the gold given them by their Egyptian neighbors. But they saw the greatness of the Lord and sang this song:
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. (Psalm 20:7)

Christ warns us against putting our hope in earthly treasures:
"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
(Matthew 6:19-21)

It is not having riches that is evil, it is putting our hope, our trust and our love in those riches. Wisdom teaches us that there is only one thing that can deliver us from death, that is righteousness. Where do we find our righteousness?

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. (Philippians 3:8-11)

Wisdom teaches us from where our hope and salvation come-righteousness. And that righteousness is found in Christ alone.
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Psalm 4
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies?
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself;
the LORD hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds,
and be silent.
Offer right sacrifices, and put your trust in the LORD.
There are many who say, "Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O LORD!"
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
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