December 13

The Lord Makes Us Rich

“The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22)

I had an interesting conversation with an acquaintance today about the creation of the world according to Genesis 1:1-3. We did not agree about the time that may or may not have elapsed between verses 1 and 2, and I was determined to focus on what we did agree about: God created the world, sustains the world, and has a plan for the world. As I approached Proverbs 10:22 I spent some time lost in wondering how to interpret the verse because I was looking too closely. I needed to get the big picture, as I had done earlier with my friend. Rather than wonder how the Lord makes us rich, without sorrow, let’s agree that it is the Lord who gives wealthy people the opportunities to become rich. This is our starting point—God’s sovereignty over wealth, personalities, talents, skills, and gifts. “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” (Deuteronomy 8:18)

When we view wealth as given by God for his purposes, there is less attachment to it as a means of security or possession of great earthly prizes. “Riches enjoyed through the blessing of God are not attended with that sorrow in getting, keeping, and losing them, as the riches of wicked men unlawfully gotten are…for as the good man comes by them easily, without any anxious care and sinful solicitude, he seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness, all these things are added to him, over and above, without much thought about them, or expectation of them (Matthew 6:33); so it is with great delight, pleasure, and cheerfulness, he enjoys them, and readily communicates them to others; while the wicked man is full of anxiety, distress, and sorrow [with relation to his wealth].” *

Job was a man of great wealth but did not ask God to return his home, herds, or servants when he lost them all, along with his family. Job wanted vindication, which he received. He did not ask the Lord to return his possessions, but God did so when Job proved himself to be faithful. It takes an especially strong faith not to seek reimbursement primarily when our property is destroyed by natural causes, let alone by an unexplained, supernatural event. I can only imagine that Job held onto his wealth very lightly, knowing God as the source of it, treasuring the Lord more than any of his possessions. 

How will our lives look if we love God more than our health? When we lose our health, will we accept our circumstance without having any sorrow added to it? What about loving God more than our children, who may live their lives in a way that feels like a betrayal of all we have taught them? How about loving God more than our Christmas trees, lights, presents, and parties? If all our Christmas traditions and glam were all to be taken away, will we be sorrowful or still feel blessed? 

* John Gill’s Exposition on the Whole Bible, Proverbs 10:22, https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/proverbs-10.html

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