Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 64, The Love Of Money

Solomon has some things to say about greed today. We take a look at his words about greed and money along with what the Apostle Paul had to say about the love of money.

"Differing weights and differing measures---the Lord detests them both." (Proverbs 20:10) God hates it when we cheat someone. Greed and dishonesty are qualities the Lord can't stand.

"Even small children are known by their actions, so is their conduct really pure and upright?" (Proverbs 20:11) This verse may go along with Solomon's repeated instructions to train and correct children while there is still time. It's important to begin teaching the right way to live as early as possible.

"Ears that hear and eyes that see---the Lord has made them both." (Proverbs 20:12) Yesterday we talked a bit about the importance of having godly insight. The Lord has endowed us with ears and eyes so that we can make wise judgments about the character of those around us. People will sometimes lie to us, but if we carefully observe the way they live and if we pay attention to the kind of speech that comes out of their mouths, we can decide whether they are trustworthy and truthful or not. In the same way, God both sees the deeds of mankind and hears the words of their lips, and He will judge accordingly. As the author of Psalm 94 asks, "Does He who fashioned the ear not hear? Does He who formed the eye not see?" (Psalm 94:9)

"Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare." (Proverbs 20:13) Solomon has taught on this theme many times. He considers laziness to be a terrible quality. It leads to poverty not only for the one who is lazy but often for the whole family. In Solomon's day the man was the main breadwinner for the household, and if a man was lazy his whole family would suffer. I imagine Solomon saw many wives and children having to do without simply because the man of the house refused to work. Laziness also leads to greed and dishonesty, for the one who doesn't want to work may resort to theft and fraud.

"'It's no good, it's no good!' says the buyer---then goes off and boasts about the purchase." (Proverbs 20:14) An example of this would be putting a used car up for sale only to have a serious buyer show up and start putting the car down in order to make us cut the price. Then the buyer will go out and brag about how he took advantage of us. Several bad qualities are on display in that situation, such as greed, dishonesty, and pride. If someone is asking a fair price for an item, and if we actually want the item, we should be honorable enough to pay a fair price.

"Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel." (Proverbs 20:15) Solomon has plenty of gold and rubies in his possession, but what he really needs is a good friend with godly knowledge. What use is gold when we're depressed? What good are rubies when we feel discouraged and disappointed? Riches may seem important and desirable when everything else in our lives is going pretty well, but when depression hits or when the kids are sick or when a spouse walks away, we immediately see that riches are incapable of fixing such things. That's when we need the comfort of the Lord and the support of our godly friends.

The Apostle Paul warned his young convert Timothy about placing too much importance on wealth. "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:9-10) Verse 9 is often misquoted as, "Money is the root of all evil," but this is not the case. Money is necessary to pay the bills and put food on the table and put clothes on our backs. It's the love of money Paul is talking about, the type of love that makes an idol of money, the type of love that causes a person to do anything (no matter how immoral) in order to get money.

Jesus spoke of this idolatrous love of money when He said, "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." (Matthew 6:24) There can only be one master over our lives and, sadly, many have made money their lord and master. They will do anything to serve this master, even if they have to abandon the moral and spiritual instruction they've been taught. As Paul says "some have wandered from the faith" because of money. If we serve the Lord wholeheartedly we can't serve money as an idol.

Solomon knows exactly how meaningless money is when we're so depressed we can hardly go on. He's been there. He suffered a very deep and prolonged bout of clinical depression because he had wandered from the faith, and his money was no use to him in those circumstances. Money can't buy us peace of mind or peace with God. It can't buy us salvation for our souls. Let's let God be God so that money never becomes our master, so that we don't wander from the faith and fall into foolish and harmful desires. God is the source of all that we need, and if He is in His proper place in our lives, money will fall into its proper place.

No comments:

Post a Comment