Beware the Treasures of Wickedness

November 5, 2017 in Bible - NT - Matthew, Bible - OT - Proverbs, Meditations, Wealth

Proverbs 10:2–3 (NKJV)
2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, But righteousness delivers from death. 3 The LORD will not allow the righteous soul to famish, But He casts away the desire of the wicked.

The proverbs of Solomon guide and teach us in order that we might be full of wisdom; in order that we might govern our daily affairs in a way that glorifies and honors our Creator and Redeemer, the Lord of hosts. In Proverbs chapter 10, Solomon begins to identify practical ways that the law of God teaches us wisdom. So today he urges us to place our confidence in the Lord, not in riches.

Because God is our Father, He knows that we need food, clothing, and shelter. He is not ignorant of our necessities and of the fears we have of going without, nor of the desires that drive us to accumulate more. Jesus responds to our fears and longings in the Sermon on the Mount:

““Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” (Matthew 6:31–33)

Jesus reminds us to put our trust in the Lord in the face of our fears and longings, to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, knowing that He will care for us. Righteousness, Solomon reminds us, delivers from death.

Unfortunately, rather than trusting in the Lord, we often let our fears and longings drive us to sin. We become so consumed with the longing for wealth that we ignore or violate God’s law in order to obtain more. For example, we steal from God, withholding our tithe from Him and acting as though what we possess is our own and not His gift. We also steal from others; we take money from the cash register, steal credit card information, or lie on our declarations of income in order to obtain a larger grant. We vote to tax the hard won earnings of our neighbor or to confiscate his lawful inheritance. We become miserly, refusing to share with others the wealth that God has shared with us. In all these ways and more we endeavor to accumulate, in the words of our text, “treasures of wickedness” imagining that they will profit us or protect us. But they won’t. Why not? Because God is watching and He casts away the desire of the wicked.

So reminded that we are to place our trust in the Lord, to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and that we are not to accumulate for ourselves treasures of wickedness, let us confess that we often permit our fears and longings to drive us to sin. And as we confess, let us kneel before the Lord as we are able. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the corporate confession in your bulletin.

Exploitation of the Poor

August 31, 2008 in Bible - NT - James, Meditations, Wealth

James 5:1-6 (NKJV)1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! 2 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. 4 Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5 You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have murdered the just; he does not resist you.

It seems from our text today, does it not, that James takes the exploitation of workers by their employers very seriously? It seems, does it not, that James warns such folks that judgment is sure to come and that the additional riches they have obtained at the expense of others will only add fuel to their fire of their own destruction on the Day of the Lord?

And so, reminded of the necessity of justice; reminded of the necessity of showing mercy to those entrusted to our care; reminded of God’s hatred for those who exploit others; let us kneel and let us confess our injustices to the Lord.