Proverbs 15:16-17 – Better to be poor and loved than live in the midst of opulence and be despised

family fightToday’s brief devotional returns to a form we have grown familiar with – the “Better/than” comparative proverbs that offer us a contrast of two real life images. Solomon writes:

Proverbs 15:16 – “Better [pleasant, pure, good] is little [few possessions] with the fear [reverence] of the LORD than great [much] treasure [overflowing treasury] and trouble therewith [vexation; confusion].”

One might ask, why is “the fear of the Lord” better in the midst of few earthly possessions than “great treasure and trouble”?  The answer comes with two realities: No amount of wealth can buy peace in a marriage or home torn by strife and bitterness.  A man might “own the world”, but when his home is torn asunder he would willingly sacrifice his riches for that which money cannot buy—peace of heart, mind and soul.

The second reality is, “the fear of the Lord” [godly piety] is to the heart and soul what a preservative is to food—it sustains, endures and surpasses trials and troubles.  The “fear of the Lord” sustains a heart in the dark hours when the treasures of the rich offer no solace for their souls.cow in stall

Our second proverb is an example of “uncommon common sense” and offers a contrast of two families; one sustained by a diet of simple vegetables, the other that enjoys opulence and a diet only wealth affords.

Proverbs 15:17 – “Better [pleasant, pure, good] is a dinner of herbs [green leafy vegetables] where love is, than a stalled ox [fat and ready for slaughter] and hatred therewith.”

FamilyPrayingBetter to be a family of humble means and enjoy the treasure of familial love, than a family who affords the luxury of a fattened ox, but is torn asunder by anger, jealousy and strife.  The godly poor bow their heads and offer a prayer of thanksgiving for a feast of simple vegetables while treasuring in their hearts what money cannot buy– God’s grace, love and peace.

Solomon states what too few acknowledge; it is better to be poor and loved than live in the midst of opulence and be despised.

Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith