Going back over Proverbs 10, there was only one verse which the Holy Spirit has lead me to address. It might not jump off the page toward your eyes, but it did to mine. And with the Lord’s blessings, I hope it will become something of interest to you for the next few minutes. “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich.”
There are many Biblical examples and promises of this. To remind you, I’ll share just a couple of them. Hannah, in prayer, pointed out, “The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.” And there is Deuteronomy 8 – “For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.” Abraham’s servant wisely assessed, “The LORD hath blessed my master greatly; and he is become great: and he hath given him flocks, and herds, and silver, and gold, and menservants, and maidservants, and camels, and asses.” “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich.”
While this statement is true, there are quite a few things which it doesn’t say and doesn’t mean. For example, this doesn’t say that the DEVIL CAN’T make people rich. It says that, among other ways of obtaining wealth, the blessings of God can make people rich. In a list created a little over a year ago, there are 540 billionaires in the United States. They have a combined net worth of $2.399 trillion. Also, there are nearly 11 million millionaires in this county. I would hope at least some of those people earned their wealth the hard way – earning it lawfully. But I would guess that many of them inherited some of it, and others used morally unacceptable means to get their millions or to increase them into billions.
The Devil can make people wealthy, and he might do so for a great many reasons. Men and women themselves can choose to become rich, applying themselves toward that goal. I suppose some people might claim fate made them rich – through stumbling onto money-making plans. But the fact remains that beyond these, the blessing of the sovereign God can make people rich.
“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich.” This doesn’t mean that when God’s blesses with wealth, He doesn’t make it contingent on hard work. The Lord made Isaac wealthy, but Genesis 26:12 puts it this way – “Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundred fold; and the Lord blessed him.” Would the Lord have made Isaac wealthy if he had not planted well and tended his flocks properly? I can’t answer the question, but I can read what the Bible says.
When the Lord Jesus blessed the disciples with a boat-load of fish – enough to threaten to break their nets, what had they been doing? It was a miraculous blessing, and had that happened often they would have become rich. But remember that God’s blessing fell on them after a night of fruitless fishing. The context suggests that if they had not spent the night fishing they would not have been so blessed.
A few weeks ago I pointed out how much time Solomon spends on exhorting his children towards hard work. Time and time again, he points out that laziness not only tendeth to poverty, it almost guarantees it. God, who is infinitely gracious, will not bless the man who so despises those blessings as not to obey the Lord in work. “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich.”
This statement shouldn’t necessarily be confined to the subject of money. I won’t deny that the primary meaning of the Hebrew word is financial wealth – it is. But wealth can mean different things to different-hearted people. Is the Holy Spirit pointing this out when He speaks of the end of Job’s life. “The LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters.” A large and happy family is of great value. And isn’t good health a valuable blessing? Isn’t a peaceful home and a peaceful nation worth something? There is a sense in which we are all living under the shadow of a mega-volcano (Yellowstone) – and when the Lord keeps a lid on that thing it is a gracious blessing. What is wealth to the Christian? “And the peace of God, which
passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Does this verse suggest that if the Christian strives to become wealthy, while keeping in mind his dependence upon the Lord, Jehovah will bless Him with riches? I don’t think so. I don’t believe that the man who steals from God will receive God’s approval and blessing. Those who refuse to give the Lord at least a thankful tithe, shouldn’t expect to become wealthy through divine blessing. But should the man to painstakingly tithes of this mint, anise, cummin, pennies and petunias, expect to be blessed at the bank or in his stock investments?
Paul told Timothy – “Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” Even Christians who choose to rich in the things of the world fall into temptations and snares. Riches are not supposed to be the Christian’s goal in life. After telling us not to set our affection on fancy clothes, the best food and drink, and fancy houses, the Saviour says, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich,” but this is no argument to seek that blessing and those riches.
But if the Lord SHOULD bless us with riches beyond our worthiness and imagination…. Then the scripture demands that we remember from Whom they have come. Paul says, being “enriched in every thing to all bountifulness … causeth through us thanksgiving to God.”
By the way, it would be criminal on my part to not to point out the context of Paul’s statement. “As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God.”
The second part of the verse says, “and he addeth no sorrow with it.”
Can we believe this statement? “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth NO sorrow with it.” But “man is born unto trouble (and sorrow), as the sparks fly upward.” This world is filled with sorrow, grief, pain and hunger even among those whom God has blessed. Is Solomon telling us the truth? Of course He is.
God blessed Isaac with flocks, herds, family, food – and water. But every time his servants dug a well flowing with life-giving water – the Canaanites stole it. Didn’t this cause anger, grief and sorrow among those well-diggers and their bosses? Actually, it didn’t cause Isaac any loss of sleep whatsoever – he just ordered his men to dig another well, with the expectation that God would give them the water they needed. Sorrow is an emotion over which we have some control. We can choose to be unhappy, angry, grief-stricken – or something more positive. God may attach a test to His blessing, but unless we fail that test, there need not be any sorrow attached.
On the other hand, when someone gets rich outside the blessing of God, there is usually sorrow attached. Consider Achan, the thief at Jericho, as an example. The man wanted to be wealthy, so he stole the property of God, and it was capital sorrow which fell upon his family.
Solomon will say, “Inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning, but end thereof shall not be blessed.” James spends quite a bit of time on this subject. “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.” But remember the following context – “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”
One of the great blessings of God is His Word, filled with promises of blessings. Not the least of which is the promise of His imminent return. The Lord does not add sorrow to His blessings, but fleshly Christians can dig it up if we try. No matter what the Sabeans, the Chaldeans, tornados, hurricanes and lightning might bring on us, we do not have to be sorrowful because tomorrow the Lord may come.