What does Proverbs teach about money?
In his book How to Read Proverbs, Tremper Longman outlines seven different lessons about wealth and poverty from the book of Proverbs.
1) God blesses the righteous with wealth.
Proverbs 3:15-16 “Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.”
Proverbs 10:22, “The blessing of the LORD makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow to it.”
2) Foolish behavior leads to poverty.
Proverbs 10:4-5, “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”
Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
3) The wealth of fools will not last.
Proverbs 11:18, “Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.”
Proverbs 13:11, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.”
4) Poverty can be the result of injustice and oppression.
Longman writes, “When observing someone who is stuck in poverty, the wise person will study the situation before coming to any conclusions about causes or solutions. To do otherwise is to fall into the trap of Job’s friends.” In other words, don’t assume that poverty is always the result of lazy or foolish behavior.
Proverbs 13:23, “An unplowed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away.”
Proverbs 16:8 “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.”
5) Those with money must be generous.
Proverbs 29:7, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
Proverbs 29:14, “If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever.”
Proverbs 28:27, “Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.”
6) Wisdom is better than wealth.
Proverbs 15:16-17, “Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.”
Proverbs 16:16, “How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!”
Proverbs 22:1, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.”
7) Wealth has limited value.
Proverbs 11:4, “Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”
Proverbs 14:20, “The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many ‘friends.’”
Two things I ask of you, LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
Longman finishes his chapter with discussion questions.
1) What are your present attitudes about money?
2) What does the message of Proverbs require from you today in terms of your actions and thinking about money?