Dangers That Accompany Wealth

January 13, 2015

                                                                      Dangers That Accompany Wealth

Agur, the prophet, was a wise man. In Proverbs 20:8-9 he wrote, “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” There are dangers that accompany poverty, but there are also dangers that come with wealth. In verse nine his concern was that he would forget God. God, in his mercy, often withholds wealth from us. He knows us well enough to know that it wouldn’t be good for us.

Hebrews 13:5 tells us that we should be content with what we have. “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Then in I Timothy 6:8 we read, “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” Why do we need more?

Deuteronomy 8:11-14 warns us of the danger of excess wealth. “Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day:   Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;   And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied;  Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” The book of Psalms speaks repeatedly of the well-being that comes to those who put their trust in the Lord. The following are a few examples. “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God” (Psalm 20:7). “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee” (Psalm 5:11). “Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever” (Psalm 52:7-8). God will forever be with us. That can’t be said about wealth. Proverbs 23:5 warns us of the uncertainty of wealth. “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”

In Luke 12:15 Jesus tells us that life doesn’t consist in the abundance of our wealth. “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” There are more important things. Psalm one talks about the blessed man. Verses 2-3 say, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.   And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Whatsoever he does shall prosper. That’s genuine prosperity! (See my article on “Prosperity” under “Various Themes.”)

With an abundance of wealth comes the temptation of pride. The rich man can dress better and drive a better car. He can live in a better house. He is in a category above those around him. In Deuteronomy 8:17-18 God warned his people that they need to acknowledge him at all times. “And thou say in thine heart, my power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth.   But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.”

If God gives us an abundance of wealth we should be good stewards of it. It isn’t our money. It is God’s money, but he has made us stewards of it. We need to seek his will about how we spend it. He didn’t give it to you so you could live in luxury. After your needs are met, you need to think about giving. We need to be good stewards also in our giving. (See my article “Prudent Charity” under “Christian Living.”) We also need to put some in savings. It will be needed in retirement, if not sooner.

Should we pray for wealth? Not unless we are willing to work for it. We need to be reminded often of the Apostle Paul’s words in II Thessalonians 3:10. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” It isn’t likely that any of us will have an abundance of wealth if we aren’t willing to work. God can prosper us in our work and give us over and above what we need. If we are in a circumstance where we can’t work, we can pray that God will give us enough to pay our bills and meet our needs. If he gives us more than we need, we should seek his will about how we spend it.

God wants to keep us trusting in him. II Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.”   Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

If you have questions or comments you can send them to us at the following address:  rusandmargaretgeorge@windstream.net









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