The Deceitfulness of Riches

Proverbs 11:24-28; 23:1-8; 30:7-9 — Do not be bewitched by the deceitfulness of riches!

The mentality that Biblical principles are meant to be used to become wealthy on earth has to be reprehensible to God. Such a concept defies the following statements:

“There is a sore evil which I have seen under the sun, namely, riches kept for the owners thereof to their hurt” (Ecclesiastes 5:13).

“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19,20).

“Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you” (James 5:1).

“But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:9,10).

“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13).

Why should I want to gain material stuff to keep for increasing my wealth? Why should I want to do such a thing since the preceding verses are true? If God chooses to also give me bountiful material returns, they are to be promptly reinvested in people and in the work of the Kingdom.

If my eternal rewards were to be determined solely by my generous liberality with my material goods, how bountiful would my harvest be?

(I adapted the above from a piece I wrote on the deceitfulness of wealth.

He that watereth shall be watered also himself (Proverbs 11:25)

Regrettable Dependence

Since we live in a physical world, certain material possessions are essential. But if you depend on them, eventually you will regret it because stuff and wealth fail when you need them most (Proverbs 11:4, 28). Of course, he who works doesn’t lack and he who doesn’t work shall have plenty of poverty (Proverbs 28:19). Nevertheless, don’t work to accumulate material wealth, because it doesn’t last long (Proverbs 23:4, 5; 27:24). Furthermore, abundance can lead to an ungrateful, independent spirit (Proverbs 30:9). Always choose integrity and righteousness, even if it means poverty, because they are better than earthly riches (Proverbs 16:8; 19:1). Never allow wealth or poverty to eliminate your fear of the LORD.

Excerpted from a lesson I wrote for CLE Bible 907.

Perils of Wealth (and the deceitfulness of riches)

Do riches influence our zeal in the pursuit of eternal life?

  • I keep wanting more and more.
  • I get upset when it breaks, fails, or gets lost.
  • I get so protective of it.
  • I sink so much time into it.
  • It helps me neglect my family.
  • My children grow up taking it for granted.

God give wealth so that we might…

  • advance His cause and interests.
  • bring the most returns for Him.
  • provide for our own.
  • give to those who have not.
  • lay up treasures in Heaven, even while we are yet on earth.

Is it wrong to be rich?

  • First off, this question reveals a lack of a healthy enough fear of wealth.
  • Secondly, it’s the wrong question.
    • Why would any heaven-bound pilgrim wish to be rich?
    • Is it right to be rich when my fellow believers are indigent?

What are the perils of wealth?

  • Too natural to trust it; trusting leads to falling (Proverbs 11:28).
  • Esteemed by the rich as a sure, secure shelter (Proverbs 18:11)
  • Those who have it may forget how to relate to people properly (Proverbs 18:23)
  • Tempts with power (Proverbs 22:7)
  • Haste to be rich and you will inevitably sin (Proverbs 28:20)
  • Becomes easier to waste a life in the pursuit of vanity (Proverbs 23:4,5).
  • The rich with difficulty enter the Kingdom (Matthew 19:23-24)
  • Facilitates making provision for the flesh and its lusts
  • Influences our zeal in the pursuit of eternal life

(The preceding “outline” comes from portions of notes for two Sunday evening talks I presented in our congregation back in 1993 and 1994.)

Additional reading about the deceitfulness of riches

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