The Blessing of the Lord Maketh Rich
22a The blessing of the Lord…
1. The psalmist seems to have in mind primarily, earthly, physical blessings from God.
a. Blessing: blessing; prosperity; gift;
b. It makes rich – (rich = wealthy; gain riches)
c. The nature of the book of Proverbs: practical wisdom for life in this world.
2. Of course each of these terms (blessing; rich) could also have a spiritual connotation.
a. Our blessings as Christians are mainly spiritual in nature. (Eph. 1:3) (Predestined; chosen; accepted; redeemed; forgiven; indwelt; etc…)
b. Of course the Jews had many spiritual blessings too.
c. But most often—especially in Proverbs—the emphasis on blessings from God was earthly in nature… physical blessings.
22b It maketh rich…
1. In this verse, Solomon traces the source of blessing and prosperity to the Lord… Jehovah.
2. This is a truth that is often repeated in Scripture—and a principle that we would do well to be mindful of.
a. Gen. 12:2 – early in the Bible God made it clear that HE was the Source of prosperity for an individual or a nation.
b. Gen. 14:23 – Abraham was very careful NOT to give anyone the impression that the source of his riches was polluted. He did not want his wealth to be tainted by the king of Sodom!
c. Gen. 24:35 – it was the Lord who made Abraham rich…
d. Gen. 26:12-14 – Isaac’s wealth also came from the Lord.
e. I Sam. 2:7 – the Lord maketh poor and the Lord maketh rich.
f. Psalm 107:38 – God blessed them SO THAT they multiplied greatly.
g. Prov. 2:6 – even wisdom comes from God.
h. James 1:17 – Every good gift we ever receive comes from God the Father!
i. I Cor. 4:7 – “What hast thou that thou hast not received?” If so, how dare we glory in it, as if it were our own doing?
3. If anyone has been blessed physically… has been enriched financially… blessed materially… GOD is the Source of it all.
a. Thus, He should be praised for it!
b. The danger arises when we begin to think of these blessings as arising from SELF… (Deut.8:11-18)
• Always recognize that GOD is the source of our blessings.
• Always be thankful to God for them.
• Never boast of our own wisdom, strength, or might… God hates pride. He could take it all away to teach us a lesson (vs. 19).
4. However, there is another line of truth found in the Bible that attributes wealth to diligence and hard work! (Prov.10:4)
a. Consider also Prov. 13:4; 21:5;
b. Notice the identical language in vs. 4 and vs. 22. They seem to be saying the opposite!
• Which is true? Should we trace the source of riches back to God OR to diligence on our part?
• Is this a contradiction?
c. The answer is that these are Proverbs. Each one is a small kernel of truth. No one proverb is the final word on any subject… just a nugget of truth that looks at a situation from one angle or another.
d. Actually BOTH are true—and they do not contradict, but complement one another.
e. Each type of proverb looks at the subject from a different angle: from God’s perspective, and from man’s.
5. When it comes to the gaining of wealth and prosperity… success… any kind of earthly blessing… there are two distinct lines of truth running parallel…
a. The will of man and the sovereignty of God.
b. Both are involved in salvation… and in the ordinary and mundane events of life too…
c. Just a few verses apart from each other, Solomon writes that that true source of riches is BOTH diligence (man’s will) and the Lord (sovereignty).
d. BOTH work together… to make rich. Neither one will be effective without the other.
6. Some men seek for riches without diligence…
a. Gambling and casino betting is all based on this aspect of human nature—get rich quick!
b. Gambling actually FOSTERS and encourages that kind of twisted thinking… just the opposite of what is called the “Protestant work ethic.”
c. The general rule is: it doesn’t work!
• Prov. 10:4 – poverty…
• Prov. 19:15 – hunger…
• Prov. 20:4 – he shall beg…
• This is the general rule… crystallized into proverbs.
d. If you want to prosper—work at it! Kids—study hard in school… do your best… be diligent. Workers: do the best you can at your job… be diligent… a good worker…
• Why? Prov. 10:4 – because the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
• If you seek for blessing without diligence, you will likely be sadly disappointed in life.
7. Others seek riches by diligence… and ignore GOD as the source of blessing.
a. They too are often sadly disappointed… especially believers—for unbelievers leave God out their lives almost entirely.
b. James 4:13-16 – diligence all by itself…
• Vs. 13 – Their goal was to make gain… prosper… a good goal.
• Vs. 14 – they made a lot of “assumptions”—assuming that they would even be alive on the morrow is an assumption…
• Vs. 15 – but the biggest assumption was that by their diligence efforts and good planning they would succeed.
• They SHOULD have said, “If the Lord will…” They left God out of their plans!
• Vs. 16 – they boasted that they would succeed—after all, they would work harder than any other business man… they would make the best of plans… they would use wisdom and the latest technology to their advantage. How could they NOT succeed?
• God said such boasting in human wisdom and efforts is EVIL!
• How could they not succeed? They failed to recognize the sovereignty of God in ALL of man’s endeavors!
c. Ecc. 9:10 – Work your hardest and do your best! (man’s responsibility)
• vs.11 – but don’t ever ignore the sovereignty of God!
• The race is not always to the fastest runner! (He could have a cold that day; trip over his shoestrings; the sole of his sneaker could come apart;
• A ski racer—he could be the best—but he could always hit a patch of ice…
• The battle isn’t always to the biggest, best equipped and best trained soldiers either! Consider Israel against Egypt! How could the Egyptians ever have imagined that they would be defeated? Who could have imagined the Red Sea opening!?
• Bread is not always to the wise! You may make the wisest investments humanly possible on Wall Street—and the unthinkable could occur… war could break out… a new technology could render your investment obsolete…
• A farmer could work his hardest planting his crops—and the Lord may hold back on the rain…
• Robert Burns put it this way: The best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley (often go astray)!
d. Psalm 127:1 – Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it!
• What a principle for us to dwell upon as we work on building the house of the Lord here…
• Note the two elements combined in this verse: man’s responsibility (doing the work of building) AND God’s sovereignty (if He’s not in it—we are spinning our wheels in the mud!)
• BOTH are needed and necessary.
• Who built this house? The Lord… He is the source of it all.
• Who is it who gave each of the workers health, strength, wisdom, ability, tools, finances, motivation? The Lord! He built the house.
• But from a human perspective, who built the house? Those who showed up for work days… those who gave sacrificially of their finances… those who labored behind the scenes—THEY built the house.
• If we want our efforts to be blessed… if we want this project to continue… then we need BOTH elements
» We need to show up and do the work… put money in the offering plate… that’s our responsibility.
» And we need an attitude of dependence upon God… and joy in serving the Lord.
• Neither will be effective without the other.
» Beware lest we trust in ourselves—our labor; effort; talents; power…
» Beware lest we sit back as the sluggard and not put forth diligence into the project…
» Either one is a road to disaster.
» But when BOTH are employed joyously depending upon God AND diligent labor… then we can expect the Lord’s blessing.
22c He addeth no sorrow with it…
1. The blessings that come from the Lord are truly BLESSINGS… occasions for joy…
2. When we do our best… put in diligent effort… work in dependence upon the Lord… and do so gladly and cheerfully… THEN, when God blesses the finished product (building a church; building a business; or building a family)… there is no sorrow in it!
3. There is no sorrow with the outcome when we do our part, joyfully dependent upon the Lord.
4. When we leave God out and seek riches on our own, it may be accompanied by much sorrow and grief!
a. I Tim. 6:9-10 – we may or may not obtain the wealth—but the end is that we are pierced with many sorrows… regrets…
b. When we prosper in the same way as the wicked prosper—leaving God out, that will always be accompanied by grief and sorrow… regrets…
c. George McGovern—out of selfish ambition devoted his life to becoming president and lost his daughter to drugs and alcohol. His success politically came with many regrets and sorrows.
d. Gen. 13:10 – Lot lifted up his eyes—and made his decision based upon his eyes… what LOOKED good physically to him.
• vs.14 – note that Abraham waited until the Lord told him to lift up his eyes.
• Lot’s choice was materially prosperous for him… but spiritually, poverty stricken!
• Peter tells us that Lot’s righteous soul was vexed daily because of the deeds of the men of Sodom.
• He became rich… but it was accompanied by much sorrow.
5. When God blesses, there is no sorrow with it. It is a TRUE blessing.
a. There is no regret… no second thoughts… no grief.
b. God’s blessings are to be enjoyed!
c. And God blesses us with poverty. He is able to make our little cabin a palace… (Prov. 17:1)
d. I Tim. 6:17 – when God blesses, there is no sorrow with it. He intends for us to ENJOY His blessings… and to use them wisely for His glory. (vs. 18-19)