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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, March 23, 2020

Proverbs 8:17-21

Proverbs 8:17-21 (NIV)  17 I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
18 With me are riches and honor,
enduring wealth and prosperity.
19 My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.
20 I walk in the way of righteousness,
along the paths of justice,
21 bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me
and making their treasuries full.

Proverbs 8:17-21 (NLT)  17 “I love all who love me.
Those who search will surely find me.
18 I have riches and honor,
as well as enduring wealth and justice.
19 My gifts are better than gold, even the purest gold,
my wages better than sterling silver!
20 I walk in righteousness,
in paths of justice.
21 Those who love me inherit wealth.
I will fill their treasuries.

Do these verses promise wealth to those who seek godly wisdom?

Godly wisdom can be identified by the way we handle money. Wisdom is not the amount of money one possesses. It's how you acquire, use and regard money. It's your attitude towards money. If money, and what it can buy, is your be-all-end-all, then it has become an idol to you. If you're so concerned about your lack of money or so concerned over your excess of money, you may have made money an idol in your life. If all of your energy, time, talents, education, and health is spent on making money, using money, acquiring money, spending money, investing money, or worrying over the lack of money... you may have a problem with idolatry. You don't have to be rich to make money an idol. If you are poor but you are constantly fretting over how much you don't have; how much you wish you had; angry because others have more than you do... you've made money an idol. Jealousy, resentment, anger and covetousness are indicators that money and wealth is an idol to you. If you walk around with a chip on your shoulder because others make more, or have more, than you do, you may be making money an idol. So, rich or poor, money can be an idol in your life. If you are constantly watching the stock market; worrying over your investments; concerned about your future; wringing your hands when it's down; trying to decide if now's the time to sell when it's up... money could be an idol in your life. If you are proud and arrogant because of your money or money-making skills, you may have made money an idol.

There are things more precious and money cannot buy. Your eternal salvation is priceless. Your relationship with God is priceless. The forgiveness of your sins and being set free is priceless. Being able to worship God with your whole being is priceless.

There are other things that are more valuable than money and wealth. Relationships with your family. You cannot put a price on a loving relationship with your spouse, your children, your parents, your siblings, etc. Just ask someone who has lost a family member! I just lost both of my wonderful parents within 4 months of each other. I was so thankful for all the many years we had together and we truly valued each other. Now that they are gone, I have no regrets and I have many memories, but I still miss them so much. You don't want to put your most valuable people on hold while you stress and strain over other things. You don't want to lose them and then have regrets because you didn't spend quality time with them while you had them. You don't want to take them for granted. Then there are friends and church that are more valuable than any price tag. Peace in your heart and a heart of gratitude are more valuable than gold and silver. Being able to relax and enjoy what God has provided (stop and smell the roses) is extremely valuable.

"It is not that wealth is intrinsically evil, or that poverty is blessed. Rather, a devotion to gathering wealth is incompatible with devotion to God. God must always be the most important thing in our lives." - ChristianBibleReference.org

Luke 16:13 (NLT, Jesus speaking)  "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

Matthew 16:26 (Jesus speaking) "What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Now that we've set the base, what do these verses promise?

If you use godly wisdom in how you make money, use money, regard money, then blessings will naturally follow you. If money is NOT an idol to you, then God can release more money to you. But that's NOT a given. There are instances in the Bible of godly people, using godly wisdom, but who were poor. Poverty is not a sign of God's blessing. Being wealthy is not a sign of God's blessing.

Let's look at some examples:

Mark 10:23-27 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were greatly astounded and said to one another, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible."

Do these verses mean only poor people can be saved and that poverty is a virtue? No!

Matthew 27:57-60  57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. 58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

Do these verses mean only wealthy people can be saved and that wealth is a virtue? No!

Luke 16:19-31  19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’
27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

Do these verses mean only poor are saved and poverty is a virtue? No!

Luke 19:10  2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

Do these verses mean only wealthy people can be saved and poverty is a virtue? No!

Do you see there is balance when it comes to the issue of money. It's not how poor or how rich you are that saves you or is a sign of virtue or blessing. Jesus saves us, not we ourselves. None of us are good enough, rich enough, poor enough, or do enough good works to save ourselves. Our salvation is based on Jesus' work on the cross and not on anything we do. As for virtue, it is something that comes naturally from a heart given to God. It's not something you manufacture in order to get blessings from God.

Some people think they have found a magic formula: "If I do this and that, then I will get wealth, health, fame, power." They think of it like rubbing a magic lantern to get what they want. They see it as something they can manufacture if they do all the right things. If they do everything right and say all the right words, they can make God bless them. But, you can see where there are flaws. First, God is sovereign, He is God and not we ourselves. Second, we cannot manipulate God to do anything because He is sovereign and much wiser than we ourselves. Third, we are taking on the position of God when we try to manipulate Him to do what WE want. Using Him as some sort of tool which we control. Fourth, we set ourselves up for failure because there is no way we can be good enough, do enough good, say all the right things, and never sin. We aren't capable of doing everything right; speaking things into being with positive words; following through on promises to God; never forgetting a single jot and tittle of the Law in order to perform it. It's why we need a Savior. We may make promises like, "God, I'll never do __________ that again, if You will just let this one time slide"; "I'll go to church every Sunday if You will just fix this one thing"; "I'll never ask you for anything else if You will just __________." Knowing full well, we will never fulfill those promises. We can't because we aren't that perfect. And we won't fulfill our part of the bargain because we are fallible, we think God will understand and we let it slide. Before you know it you are back to the same life as before. Nothing changed and your promises to God were forgotten.

So what are these verses saying? If we have the right, balanced attitude towards money, it is godly wisdom. We don't get godly wisdom without God. So people may be smart in making money or investing money, but that doesn't mean they have godly wisdom. That means they have intelligence (God-given), education (God-given) and skill (God-given) but they are using it for themselves. Godly wisdom is where God gives us balance, integrity, and discernment. We are in right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We have a continuous relationship with God who gives wisdom. We are using godly wisdom to have the right attitudes about money and to stay in balance in our lives.

How can godly wisdom bless us financially? If we are in right relationship with God; in communication with Him; and we are seeking to do what He would have us do, then there are some financial blessings that come as a natural result. For instance, you aren't wasting your money on drugs, excessive alcohol, prostitutes, gambling, etc. You are spending your money wisely and therefore with better results. I have seen poor people given money who then waste it on alcohol or drugs rather than on food, shelter or clothes. I have seen rich people waste their money on alcohol, drugs, parties, $1,000 purses, $800 pr of tennis shoes, crazy investments, etc. Neither one is spending their money wisely. Neither is showing godly wisdom whether it's $5 or $5,000,000.

I knew a woman who had spent all her inheritance and most of her wages on trinkets. She had inherited a large home from her parents and she filled it up with so many trinkets that she was living in the backyard in a camper because she couldn't get into her house. Hoarding. All that money wasted on junk that she will never get her money back out of. All that money in junk that sat in a house and decayed. All that money sunk into so much stuff she couldn't live a decent life because of it. Then she became unable to pay her taxes and was so far behind that the city was going to take her house for back taxes. Where would she put all that junk now? People gave her money to pay her back taxes and you know what she did with it? Yep, she wasted it on more "collectibles". Didn't pay one dime in back taxes. Someone gave her a car, she filled it with her junk. Someone else paid to have her car fixed. She spent the money on trinkets. This person was blessed by God with a 3,500 sq ft house in a nice part of town and she didn't maintain it because she had spent all her money on junk. God blessed her with 4 acres of land with the house but she couldn't afford to have it mowed because she spent the money on junk. God had blessed her with an inheritance from her parents and she had spent every dime on junk. God had blessed her with jobs and wages but she wasted it on junk. God blessed her with the generosity of others but she wasted it on junk. God blessed her with good health but she wasted it on junk until now she's old and can't deal with all the junk. This woman didn't spend her money on drugs, crime, prostitution, theft, cons, gambling or other "sinful" deeds. But, needless to say, she didn't use godly wisdom. She made an idol out of junk and out of herself (she couldn't refuse herself anything). Now other people have had to step in and try to help her out of the mess she created. But, even then, she refused to let it go so, where she moved, she had to have a building to contain it. Meanwhile she hasn't changed one bit and will probably be living in her camper in the backyard of her new home. That's not godly wisdom.

If you are using godly wisdom you have discernment, understanding, and good judgment so that you use your money wisely. If you are using godly wisdom you are a person of honesty and integrity which will show in your business dealings with co-workers, bosses and vendors. This is usually appreciated with repeat business, trust from co-workers, and benefits from vendors. If you are using godly wisdom then you treat your employees, co-workers, bosses, investors generously, with kindness and goodness. This usually results in devoted employees, loyal vendors, good relationships with co-workers and satisfied investors. Is this a guarantee? No, because then you are back to turning God's blessing into some kind of formula for your own success. But you will reap what you sow. If you are good to people, then God will bless it back to you in some way. It may not be money. It may be in friendship, good relations with your neighbors, a happy family, peace in your heart, a clean conscience, help when you need it, etc.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

Jesus Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. Those who trust in Him, by grace through faith, have the mind of Christ, which will guide us into all truth. As we trust in Him and in His Word, He guides us into truth; He prompts us in our actions and attitudes; and, He corrects and trains us as we mature in the spirit. The result of this vital relationship with God is godly wisdom in our everyday lives. As we grow and mature in the spirit, we have godly wisdom to make choices and decisions. As our eyes see more and more from God's perspective, we gain better discernment and balance in the real world. May we be this rooted in Him!

When you read these verses, did you think they were a promise of wealth?
Being smart with worldly wisdom does not mean the same thing as godly wisdom. Can you explain the difference in your own words?
To see these verses and understand them correctly, you should take them in context with other verses (provided in this post, as well as others in the Bible) and see them in balance. God's perspective on financial wealth is very different from the world's perspective. Ponder this and journal your thoughts.
Can you think of a rich person who uses their money for all the wrong things? How much happiness do they have?
Can you think of a poor person who uses their money for all the wrong things? How much happiness do they have?
Can you think of a rich person who tries to use godly wisdom with their money? They know Jesus Christ as their Savior and they are trying to practise God's wisdom in their finances.
Can you think of a poor person who tries to use godly wisdom with their money? They know Jesus Christ as their Savior and they are trying to practise God's wisdom in their finances.
Does this help you understand that godly wisdom has everything to do with the heart and nothing to do with the externals like money, jobs, successful/unsuccessful, educated/uneducated, what size house someone has, etc.?
Have you seen, or heard, of people who think they can manipulate God to get what they want from Him with positive thinking, positive speaking, name-it-claim-it formulas? They believe it rests on them to do all the right things to get God to do something for them such as heal them, make money, get a better job, live debt-free, etc. Is this godly wisdom?
Godly wisdom has balance, discernment and comes from God. We must have a relationship with God and in communication with Him to have His perspective. There is nothing wrong with speaking positive words that affirm and encourage us. But if it becomes a formula in which we trust to get blessing from God, we are out of balance. Journal about this and try to see balance.
Who is the beginning and end of true wisdom? All wisdom resides in who? Can we have true wisdom without _____?

For all my studies on Proverbs click HERE.

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