Posts Tagged ‘wealth and prosperity’


RUTH

WHEN someone says, “Let me tell you about my mother-in-law,” we expect some kind of negative statement or funny anecdote. That’s because the mother-in-law caricature has often been used in humor and comedy. The book of Ruth, however, tells a different story. Ruth loved her mother-in-law, Naomi. Recently widowed, Ruth begged to stay with Naomi wherever she went, even though it would mean leaving her homeland. She ended her plea with, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God” (1:16). Naomi agreed, and Ruth traveled with her to Bethlehem.     Not much is said about Naomi except that she loved and cared for Ruth. Obviously, Naomi’s life was a

powerful witness to the reality of God. Ruth was drawn to her—and to the God she worshiped. In the succeeding months, God led this young Moabite widow to a man named Boaz, whom she eventually married. As a result, she became the great-grandmother of David and an ancestor in the line of the Messiah. What a profound impact Naomi’s life made!     The book of Ruth is also the story of God’s grace in the midst of difficult circumstances. Ruth’s story occurred during the time of the judges—a period of disobedience, idolatry, and violence. Even in times of crisis and deepest despair, there are those who follow God and through whom God works. No matter how discouraging or antagonistic the world may seem, there are always people who follow God. He will use anyone who is open to him to achieve his purposes. Ruth was a Moabite, and Boaz was a descendant of Rahab, a former prostitute from Jericho. Nevertheless, their offspring continued the family line through which the Messiah came into our world.     Read this book and be encouraged. God is at work in the world, and he wants to use you. God could use you, as he used Naomi, to bring family and friends to him.
KEY VERSE: “But Ruth replied, ‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God’” (1:16).
KEY PLACES: Moab, Bethlehem
When we first meet Ruth, she is a destitute widow. We follow her as she joins God’s people, gleans in the grain fields, and risks her honor at the threshing floor of Boaz. In the end, we see Ruth becoming the wife of Boaz. What a picture of how we come to faith in Christ. We begin with no hope and are rebellious foreigners with no part in the kingdom of God. Then as we risk everything by putting our faith in Christ, God saves us, forgives us, rebuilds our lives, and gives us blessings that will last through eternity. Boaz’s redeeming of Ruth is a picture of Christ redeeming us.

EXPLANATION: Ruth’s faithfulness to Naomi as a daughter-in-law and friend is a great example of love and loyalty. Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz are also faithful to God and his laws. Throughout the story we see God’s faithfulness to his people.

IMPORTANCE: Ruth’s life was guided by faithfulness toward God and showed itself in loyalty toward the people she knew. To be loyal and loving in relationships, we must imitate God’s faithfulness in our relationships with others.

Kindness

EXPLANATION: Ruth showed great kindness to Naomi. In turn, Boaz showed kindness to Ruth—a despised Moabite woman with no money. God showed his kindness to Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz by bringing them together for his purposes.

IMPORTANCE: Just as Boaz showed his kindness by buying back land to guarantee Ruth and Naomi’s inheritance, so Christ showed his kindness by dying for us to guarantee our eternal life. God’s kindness should motivate us to love and honor him.

Integrity

EXPLANATION: Ruth showed high moral character by being loyal to Naomi, by her clean break from her former land and customs, and by her hard work in the fields

IMPORTANCE: When we have experienced God’s faithfulness and kindness, we should respond by showing integrity. Just as the values by which Ruth and Boaz lived were in sharp contrast to those of the culture portrayed in the book of Judges, so our lives should stand out from the world around us.

Protection

EXPLANATION: We see God’s care and protection over the lives of Naomi and Ruth. His supreme control over circumstances brings them safety and security. He guides the minds and activities of people to fulfill his purposes.

IMPORTANCE: No matter how devastating our present situation may be, our hope is in God. His resources are infinite. We must believe that he can work in the life of any person—whether that person is a king or a stranger in a foreign land. Trust his protection.

Prosperity/Blessing

EXPLANATION: Ruth and Naomi came to Bethlehem as poor widows, but they soon became prosperous through Ruth’s marriage to Boaz. Ruth became the great-grandmother of King David. Yet the greatest blessing was not the money, the marriage, or the child; it was the quality of love and respect between Ruth, Boaz, and Naomi.

IMPORTANCE: We tend to think of blessings in terms of prosperity rather than the high-quality relationships God makes possible for us. No matter what our economic situation, we can love and respect the people God has brought into our lives. In so doing, we give and receive blessings. Love is the greatest blessing.
 


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 1:21 He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor 

Where is wisdom? Solomon wrote Proverbs to teach wisdom to young men in particular and to all God’s children in general (Pr 1:1-6). Where must you go to find it? Wisdom is freely offered everywhere to those who will stop and listen (Pr 1:20-23; 8:1-10; 9:1-5).

Solomon personified wisdom as a woman, like Americans use Mother Nature. Lady Wisdom speaks for most of this chapter (Pr 1:20-33). Solomon used this personification often (Pr 2:1-4; 3:13-18; 4:5-13; 8:1-36; 9:1-12). Wisdom seeks you. Embrace her!

Where is wisdom? Job asked this great question (Job 28:1-12). Natural man cannot find it or buy it (Job 28:13-22). Only God knows where it is found (Job 28:23-27). The God of heaven – Jehovah – said, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom” (Job 28:28)!

The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Pr 1:7; 9:10). What is it? It is reverent awe to keep His commandments and to hate sin (Pr 8:13; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10; Eccl 12:13-14; Heb 12:28-29). It delights in God and the things He loves (Deut 6:4-9; Jer 9:23-24).

Wisdom is opposite everything believed and taught by CNN, Hollywood, the NEA, the PTA, Fox, Harvard, PETA, the UN, Oxford, the Vatican, CBS, the RNC, and the NFL!

You forfeit all wisdom, if you have allegiance to Allah, Baal, Buddha, Confucius, Dagon, Eostre, the Great Spirit, Krishna, Mary, Mohamed, Rama, Shiva, the Talmud, or Vishnu!

Lady Wisdom calls! She cries in the chief place of concourse, where men travel. She cries in the openings of the gates, where men enter the city. She cries in the city. She is nearby for any man, who will stop his business and activity to listen (Ps 4:3-5; 46:8-11).

The creator God has revealed himself in the heavens and earth (Ps 19:1-6; Rom 1:20). A plain sermon is preached day and night in every language and dialect. He gives a witness of Himself every time it rains and you enjoy a fruitful season (Matt 5:45; Acts 14:17; 17:27-28). If you believe the lie of evolution, you will never see any wisdom at all.

God has also revealed wisdom by His inspired scriptures, the Christian Bible (Deut 4:5-8; Ps 19:7-11; Is 8:20). He has sent chosen men to preach His wisdom to you (Jer 3:15; I Cor 2:6-16; Col 1:28-29). If you are reading this proverb and its commentary, this kind God has brought wisdom before your eyes. Get down! Humble yourself! Praise your Creator! Thank Him for His word! Read it! Believe it! Obey it! Lady Wisdom is calling!


Proverbs 8:18 – With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. 

Wisdom is the surest way to wealth and reputation for nations and persons. Folly, the opposite of wisdom, generally leads to poverty and shame, as many proverbs and human experience prove. Hear Lady Wisdom promote the value of wisdom by its great benefits.

But there is much more, for spiritual wisdom that pleases God also leads to eternal riches in glory with the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ and the acceptance and honor of God as His dear children and the brethren of Jesus Christ. There are no greater benefits!

At first pass, this proverb seems simple. But its difficulty is in dividing the blessings rightly (II Tim 2:15). Are the riches natural or spiritual? To avoid doctrinal shame, we must divide it with great care and true submission to the Holy Spirit and scripture.

Consider the context from three vantage points. First, the whole book of Proverbs is primarily spiritual wisdom for natural life here. This is apparent throughout. Second, the eighth chapter is a personification of wisdom and its benefits (Pr 8:1-9,32-34). Third, the surrounding context is wisdom’s blessings on nations and governments (Pr 8:10-21).

The preceding verse encourages you to seek wisdom early – in life, in each day, in each situation – and you will be blessed. The following verse indicates that the riches under consideration are of greater value than financial riches. Wisdom will bring success in this life and the world to come, for it is the true fear of God (Pr 8:12-14; Eccl 12:13-14).

Wisdom does bring natural success to the nations and men seeking her. The success she brings is of an enduring sort based on righteousness. When Israel was wise, they were rich, very rich (Deut 28:1-14; I Kgs 10:27). When Israel sinned foolishly, they were reduced to poverty, great poverty (Deut 28:15-68; I Kgs 11:9-13). And this is one of the basic lessons of this book of wisdom (Pr 10:4,22; 11:24; 12:24; 19:15; 20:13; 21:17).

Adam Smith only saw surface aspects of success in “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776. For God had declared 3000 years earlier, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Ps 33:12). And He also wrote, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps 9:17). Wise political theory would include thorough understanding of the God of nations!

America was great, and still has greatness, for one simple reason – God’s blessing. A large part of America, now a small minority, feared Him and sought Bible wisdom. “Witty inventions” (Pr 8:12), “strength” (Pr 8:14), “justice” (Pr 8:15), “judges” (Pr 8:16), “judgment” (Pr 8:20), “substance” (Pr 8:21), and “treasures” (Pr 8:21) are all blessings of wisdom on the US. This proverb adds riches, honour, durable riches, and righteousness!

Wicked men may get rich, as Nebuchadnezzar, Croesus, Xerxes, or Alexander the Great, but their riches were not durable or righteous. Those riches were God’s judgment – the prosperity of fools (Pr 1:32; Ps 17:14). Wise men are sometimes made poor, like Job and Jesus, for God providentially does other things in their lives (Job 1:1-12; Phil 2:5-8). Therefore, riches are not an absolute proof of wisdom, nor does wisdom always lead to riches. But the general rule is true – wisdom brings wealth and honor.

This general rule for nations and men is the primary thrust of the book, the chapter, and this proverb. Yet, spiritual riches of a durable nature extend beyond this life. They are superior to wealth, and they ought to be sought diligently (Matt 6:19-21,33; 13:44-46). True wisdom leads God’s children to a wonderful life now and eternal life to come (Ps 73:23-24; Mark 10:29-31). Whether rich or poor financially, glory shall soon be revealed of such splendor that nothing here can be compared to it (Rom 8:18; II Cor 4:17-18).

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; (6) in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.