Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. 2 The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all. 3 The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. 4 The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
The Rich And Poor Meet
Alright, as we start Proverbs 22, Solomon begins talking about money or wealth. He mentions riches in three of these four verses, but first he tells us there’s something better than great riches even mentioning silver and gold. This is actually very profound… It’s like in one hand Solomon holds out the greatest most valuable things the world treasures… the things that can be used to obtain any physical thing one might desire. Great riches… And he should know a thing or two about them…
1st Kings chapter 10 is one place you can read all about Solomon's wealth. There was gold and treasures of all sorts in his kingdom. Verse 21 says: “…silver was not considered as anything in the days of Solomon.”
Then in verse 23 it says:
Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom.
Great riches are still important to men right?… silver and gold are still at the top of the worlds list even around 3000 years after Solomon wrote these words. So Solomon holds great wealth in one hand and in the other… two things which he says are greater than these… a good name is a better choice than riches; and favor is better than silver and gold.
Solomon also reminds us that the rich and poor all share a common origin. We share the same Maker… the Lord… And he says the rich and poor meet. Somehow this meeting is connected to God making us all.
Solomon does this kind of thing all the time. He gives us two truths in one proverb and seems to expect us to ponder on how it relates… And thankfully; as believers, God has given us… his Holy Spirit to guide us in our pondering. I was just thinking how we all came into the world with nothing… no gold or silver… we came naked and poor. And I know God did not make us to be obsessed with either how poor we are or to religiously pursue riches.
Man was made in Gods image for worshiping God and loving our neighbor as our self. Not for being obsessed with riches. This may be how the rich and poor meet… both poor in the beginning and both with a common purpose.
Next, in verse 3 we see an example of how a prudent person can see danger and removes himself from it. Although this verse does not mention riches this prudent person may perhaps see an opportunity to increase his wealth by some scheme that is deceitful and underhanded… but he chooses a good name over riches while the simple man chooses the get rich quick scam… and to tell the truth… it may make him a very rich person but Solomon says suffering will come of it.
Finally in verse 4 Solomon says: “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life”.
And Solomon knows this truth on a deep personal level. Remember when he humbled himself in the fear of the Lord and ask God to be the leader God wanted him to be? 2nd Chronicles 1 tells us what God gave Solomon.
2 Chronicles 1:11 God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king, 12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you. I will also give you riches, possessions, and honor, such as none of the kings had who were before you, and none after you shall have the like.”
So God gave Solomon the very things he mentions in verse 4… riches and honor and life.
In closing today my mind goes back to what Solomon said in verse 2 which we looked at. “The rich and the poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all.”
We talked about origins and how God is creator of us all… How the rich and poor both came into this world with nothing. You know, we were created for relationship with God. He wants us to neither be obsessed with poverty or riches but pursue and worship him as the greatest treasure in the Universe that he is. We were created in a fashion so that seeing his glory brings us the greatest joy possible and transforms our life.
And the truth is… the rich and poor will meet in some fashion again… even with our Creator on Judgment Day. Once again we will have nothing. We all stand poor before our Maker. If we have turned away from treasuring sin and looked to Christ. If our hope is in him then although we are poor we come before God with the righteousness of Jesus. and we receive life and riches and share in his glory forever.