Do you remember Jesus’ parable in the Gospel of Luke about the rich man who trusted in his wealth rather than God? The man enjoyed a large harvest, which led him to tear down his barns and build bigger barns to hold it all. He told himself, “Take life easy; eat, drink, and be merry!” (Luke 12:19). The man in Jesus’ story put his faith in his wealth and convinced himself that this abundance would protect him and ensure a good life. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’” (v. 20). Jesus’ story is the perfect illustration for today’s proverb: Wealth makes a poor god.
When reading these short sayings in the second part of Proverbs it is important to know that they typically followed a common Hebrew style called parallelism in which two images or concepts were placed next to one another for comparison. Today’s verse invites us to consider the difference between “those who trust in riches” and “the righteous” (Prov. 11:28).
This verse is supremely countercultural, especially in the United States, where we are every day tempted to trust in money and self-sufficiency rather than Christ. Proverbs assures us that trusting in wealth will cause us to fall but trusting in God, or being righteous, will make us “thrive like a green leaf.” And that is true whether we are wealthy or impoverished. As Paul tells us in Philippians 4:12–13: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” It is God, not our paycheck, who ensures our life and well-being.
>> Take a moment to consider in what things you place your trust and confidence. It is so easy for us to worry more about this life than we do about eternity.
How convicting to be reminded that our lives depend on Your will, not our wages! Teach us to be content in You, whether we are wealthy or needy. You know our current as well as our future needs.