The Rich Man’s Security
1. This section of the chapter deals with the subject of security.
a. For the righteous, the Lord is our security. (vs.10)
b. For the wealthy, his money is his security. (vs.11)
c. For the proud, he has no security! (vs.12)
The rich man’s wealth is his strong city
1. This verse makes several comparisons to the previous verse.
• The righteous man
• The name of the Lord
• Trust in the Lord
• The strong tower
• True safety of the righteous
• the rich man
• trust in his money
• the strong city
• empty “conceit” of the rich man
2. The rich man
a. The rich man speaks of a man who is affluent; rich in earthly goods; well to do; prosperous.
b. Of course, we should once again be reminded that we are reading PROVERBS.
c. What is said of rich men here is not true of EVERY rich man.
d. But Solomon observed that what he is about to say about rich men is very often true… most rich men Solomon observed seemed to fit into this category described here.
e. Jesus also noted that it is hard for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom.
f. Of course rich men CAN be saved. Rich men CAN be godly and righteous. But in general, most rich men are not. (Most poor men are not too!)
g. So in GENERAL, what Solomon says about rich men is true.
3. His wealth is his strong city.
a. Strong city speaks of his place of safety and security.
b. It is parallel to the strong tower in vs.10.
• Sometimes translated “castle”… a tower on a castle wall and was used as a watchtower.
• It was also used as a place of refuge and safety when the city was attacked.
• The righteous would FLEE to their strong tower when they were in danger.
• They sought safety and refuge behind its walls.
• To the righteous, the Lord was their strong tower.
• When trials strike, the righteous run to the Lord and are safe…
• The name of the Lord—who God is—His Person—is their strong tower… a Mighty Fortress… a solid foundation…
• Safety and security is found in the Lord.
c. Solomon states in vs.11, that what GOD is to the righteous, WEALTH is to the rich man.
• To the rich man, his wealth is a “strong city”—a place of safety… strong walls to protect him… a place where he can be safe and secure.
• Don’t misunderstand Solomon’s point here!
• He is NOT saying that wealth provides safety and security.
• He is saying that in the mind of the rich man it does.
• Solomon isn’t saying that his wealth actually PROVIDES him with safety. He is simply saying that to the rich man’s way of thinking, wealth equals security.
• That is the way men think today too… and by the way, poor men think that way too.
» The wealthy man gloats: “I have great wealth! I am secure.”
» The poor man laments: “If only I had more money, I’d be secure!”
• The rich man TRUSTS in his wealth as the righteous trust in God.
• The rich man RUNS to his money to protect him when trial or tragedy strikes.
• The rich man gets a sense of comfort and security by reading his bank statements.
• The rich man believes he can BUY his way out of trouble…
• His mind and heart is attached to his wealth and he trusts in it to deliver him from calamity.
• Just as a man in the countryside would flee to a strong walled city for safety when the enemy strikes, the rich man flees to his wealth for safety and security.
4. Clearly this is the thinking of rich men—and most of the rest of the world too.
a. Ecc. 7:12 – money is a defense…
b. Ecc. 10:19 – money answers all things… money IS the answer to all problems… just throw money at it… money protects us and is a defense against all kinds of things.
c. Prov. 10:15 – a proverb that says the same thing!
• This is the way the world thinks…
• Solomon is not endorsing this kind of thinking. He is simply stating it as a fact: to the wealthy, money equals security; poverty equals destruction!
• Wealth is security to the rich…
• Poverty is destruction to the poor…
• Wealth makes a man secure and poverty makes him insecure… in a dangerous place.
• This is not God’s view—this is not the way we should think.
• Rather, this is a proverb—a statement of the way things ARE… not the way they should be.
• It is earthly, worldly, fallen human nature that thinks this way—and basically the whole world DOES think this way.
• The world thinks that the greatest thing that could happen to a person is to win the lottery… and the worst thing is to be poor.
• From heaven’s perspective, they are dead wrong!
And as an high wall in his own conceit.
1. Prov. 10:15 starts off exactly the same as 18:11, but they have different endings.
a. 10:15 ends by adding the poor man’s view.
b. 18:11 ends by adding God’s view.
c. 18:11 ends on a note of spiritual reality.
2. The second proverb basically says, “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city and high wall of protection…
a. A strong city in those days meant a WALLED city.
b. A city was harder to attack if it was walled—thus safer.
c. Often the walls would have towers (strong towers).
d. It provided a layer of protection against invasion from the enemy.
e. The higher the wall, the safer the city.
f. Hence, to the rich man, his wealth was like a fortified city with high walls—safe and secure!
g. As the rich man sees things—his money provides security for him… like the high walls provide security to the city.
h. But—the rich man’s wealth provides this level of security only in his own conceited mind!”
i. God’s mind is quite different than his on this matter. God adds a healthy dose of spiritual reality to the thinking of the rich man…
j. I Tim. 6:17 – God sees riches as uncertain. They do not provide safety or security.
k. Prov. 23:4 – “For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”
l. Men see earthly riches as lasting… a solid foundation… something we can count on… something that provides security… but GOD has a very different perspective.
m. Consider what God said about the church at Laodicea.
• THEY thought that because they were rich, they were in need of nothing.
• God looked at their condition quite differently.
• He saw them as poor, blind, naked, and wretched!
• God always seems to have a different perspective on earthly things than we do!
n. Job 31:24-25, 28 – JOB was a wealthy man, but he did NOT make his wealth his strong city.
• But Job did not put his “hope” in money nor make his wealth his “confidence.” (vs.24)
• He saw that as iniquity worthy of judgment.
• He also saw that as a denial of God!
• You can only put your confidence in one master. Job knew that.
3. Conceit Defined:
a. Strong’s: imagination; image; idol; conceit.
b. Dict. of Bib. Lang.: what is imagined or conceived in one’s mind as a belief or opinion; ideas fashioned in the mind.
c. The term can refer to idols… man made images.
d. But here it is used of images of the heart… something imagined in the proud, conceited heart.
e. Solomon states in vs.11, that what GOD is to the righteous, WEALTH is to the rich man. It is his god, his idol… his mighty fortress… his strong tower… his high wall…
f. In other words, money is his Master… his god.
4. Luke 12:16-19 – this wealthy man felt secure because he had a lot of money… many material possessions.
a. This is just what Solomon was getting at in Proverbs 10:15 – a rich man’s wealth is his strong city… his fortress… his safety and security!
b. When a man has “much goods” he feels secure. (take thine ease…)
c. “It’s all MINE! It’s all for me, myself, and I!”
d. But that is a false sense of security… for true security can only come from the Lord.
e. He felt safe, but actually was in imminent danger.
f. In one moment he can be taken away from his wealth and made to stand before his Maker… and he discovers that his wealth provides NO security in that day…
g. And that’s when security really matters!
h. Prov. 11:28 – “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.”
• The righteous trust in God. He is their strong city. (Prov. 18:10)