In the last two weeks we have looked at the beginning of Psalm 112 that says, “Praise the Lord. Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
Following these first two verses is verse three which begins “Wealth and riches are in his house.” Another evidence of a man who fears the Lord and obeys him is wealth and riches. A simple observer may see this as a promise for great prosperity. However, we must look at the entire Bible to understand the meaning of this passage.
First, there are passages in the Bible that seem to indicate prosperity is a result of fearing the Lord and being righteous before him (Proverbs 13:21; 15:6; Psalm 1:2-3). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all blessed with wealth and riches. King David was considered prosperous as well as his son, Solomon, who was the wealthiest man in the known world at the time.
Second, there were also people in the Bible who were considered just as righteous, but not rich. Job was wealthy and then God took it all away as a way to test his faith. Ravens fed the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-6). Jesus Christ declared that he had no place to lay his head – he was without a home during his three-year ministry (Luke 9:58). Material wealth, therefore, is not an automatic indicator of devotion to the Lord.
Third, the Scripture gives great warning to those with wealth or who seek it. “Though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.” (Psalm 62:10) “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant or to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain.” (1 Timothy 6:17) “Let not…the rich man boast of his riches, but…that he understands and knows me.” (Jer. 9:23-24) “I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’” (Prov.30:9)
Lastly, the Scripture gives principles to help us know how to handle money. One use of money is to provide for our families. 1 Timothy 5:8 says, “If anyone does not provide for…his immediate family, he…is worse than an unbeliever.” In order for us to keep “in check” the impulses to overspend, Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” We are also encouraged to save: “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” (Proverbs 21:20)
The Apostle Paul may have summed it up best in Philippians 3:8 where he tells us it is all about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The wealth of this world does not compare. “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”
William “Carey” Northington of One Master Ministries in Xenia may be contacted at www.OneMaster.org.