One the best thing about Proverbs is its practical wisdom about everyday topics such as wealth and poverty. However, Proverbs is more than simply a self-help book – it is godly wisdom which seeks to put “the fear of the Lord” at the beginning. As we saw in the previous session on guidance, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). Today we are going to look at how that works out with money / wealth and poverty.
This is a huge issue in our society: according to the Global Inequality website, the richest 1% of people own 44% of the world’s wealth. According to Oxfam, the wealth divide between the richest and the poorest in the world is steadily growing. Closer to home, in the UK about 20% of households are below average income. And yet, a lot of people chase after wealth – according to the Telegraph, 70% of UK adults (more than 32 million people) play the lottery on a regular basis – and 99% of winners play again, convinced they will win again.
Money and wealth play a huge role in our society. What does the the wisdom of Proverbs have to say about it?
Let me first just give a quick caveat: one of the problems with proverbial wisdom is that you can’t simply read off one verse and then ignore the other verses about wealth and poverty. Proverbs isn’t a “get rich quick” scheme! All of these things need to be taken into consideration together. With that in mind, here are seven short lessons about wealth from the wisdom of Proverbs.