The Problem of Wealth

Today we are doing a Bible study from Proverbs 18:10-12 contrasting two different men in the Bible.

Here is what the writer of Proverbs has to say:“The name of the Lord is a strong tower. The righteous man runs into it and is safe. A rich man's wealth is his strong city and like a high wall in his imagination. Before destruction, a man's heart is haughty. But humility comes before honor.”

The rich man in this passage has accumulated great wealth and is self-sufficient. At Lord and Richards, we call this financial independence. He views his wealth like a strong city. Imagine a fortress surrounded by great battlements and ramparts with weapons defending it.

For those blessed with great financial resources comes the temptation for wealth to become their source of security. Part of the reason they built and accumulated wealth over their lifetime has been for security. A person like this aims to advance their own goals and priorities in the world. They expect the world to make way for them as a person of means. Like a high wall, this person defends themselves from those who would call them to account. Now we get into not just the pride of wealth, but the willingness to enter corrupt or unscrupulous practices: lying on your tax return, not disclosing certain transactions, hiding wealth,and doing business in unscrupulous ways. This person becomes proud. They do not listen to the counsel of others, much less God.

\\"For those blessed with great financial resources comes the temptation for wealth to become their source of security."

Wealth can be a huge snare or a great blessing. But the temptation of the rich is to fall into the difficulties of pride and dependence on wealth. In fact, this person's counselors fear them. They tell them what they want to hear and do not give good counsel.

The passage compares wealth to a high wall, but it is security built in imagination.One day, this person is going to enter old age and discover that it was all just a house of cards. Death will reveal the futility of wealth, retirement plans, businesses,and 401k’s.

Everything this person accumulates and depends on would be traded for a full, robust, meaningful life. Most realize too late that it is really people that matter and not the pursuit of wealth. They will discover in the end that their pride and riches have led them straight to destruction.This may seem like a negative perspective. Well, this is wisdom.

Sometimes, as the Bible says:“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

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