Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Proverbs 10:22 --- True Riches

Proverbs 10:22
The blessing of the Lord makes rich,
    and he adds no sorrow with it.

In this verse we learn what true riches are.  True wealth is to have the Lord's blessing or favor.  Derek Kidner makes an important point about the meaning of this proverb when he says, "The Hebrew adds an emphatic pronoun (as in AV, RV): 'it makes rich' --- nothing else does."[1]  Here is how the King James Version, which retains the pronoun "it" found in the original Hebrew, translates the verse:

            The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich,
    and he addeth no sorrow with it.     

We are truly poor, if we do not have the Lord's favor.  We could be the richest billionaire on the planet, but if we do not have our Maker's blessing, we are to be pitied.  Why is this the case?  The first reason is that we were made for the Lord and for fellowship with him.  We live in spiritual death apart from union and communion with our Lord and bridegroom, Jesus Christ. 

The second reason we desperately need the Lord's favor and blessing is the reality of sin and God's righteous wrath against sin.  We need the favor and blessing of God to replace the curse and wrath that rests upon us (cf. John 3:36).  But what can remove the debt of sin that is in the credit column of all of our lives?  Put all of the billionaire's wealth in the debit column, but it has no way to budge the balance of the huge debt of sin against us in the credit column.  As Psalm 49 puts it:

            Truly no man can ransom another,
                or give to God the price of his life,
            for the ransom of their life is costly
                and can never suffice. (v. 7-8)

Only one thing can remove the huge debt of sin and the Lord's wrath we have incurred, and that is the shed blood of Jesus and his perfect righteousness.  This is the good news of the gospel.  Our sins can be cleansed, and we can be declared righteous through the righteousness of God's Son.  Christ's righteousness is imputed to all who come to him in faith.

To put this in monetary terms, our salvation is like this:  not only is our debt of sin forgiven, but the righteousness of Christ is put into our account.  Now, the Lord views us in Christ as not only forgiven, but as righteous in his sight.  Like a beautiful robe, believers now wear the perfect righteousness of God's Son.  Here is how the Heidelberg Catechism puts is, speaking of the conception and birth of Christ:

  How does the holy conception and birth of Christ benefit you?

  He is our mediator, and with his innocence and perfect holiness he removes from God's sight my sin---mine since I was conceived.

The second line of our proverb, "and he adds no sorrow to it," is pointing us to two lines of thought.
  First, it is pointing to the future.  As we have said already, but will say again and again, Proverbs is an eschatological book, meaning that it points toward the future state when there will be a new heaven and earth.  At that time, as Revelation tells us, the Lord "will wipe away every tear from [his people's] eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

But, second, there is a sense in which the blessing of the Lord has no sorrow in it, even now.  As James says, "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change" (James 1:17).  The favor and blessing that is ours in Christ is a perfect gift, which none of the sorrows of a fallen, rebellious world can diminish or take away.  In fact, to have Jesus Christ is to have the pearl of great price, which is like a talisman in every sorrow we experience on this earth.  Christ is the treasure that is the answer to our every need.  He is our portion that will not be and cannot be taken away.  We are truly rich if Christ is ours.  We are truly to be pitied if he is not.



[1] Kidner, Proverbs, 84.

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