Solomon returns to an oft-repeated format in Proverbs 10. Using the conjunction but, he draws a series of contrasts between two opposing thoughts throughout the chapter. For this devotional, I will limit my examination to Proverbs 10:2-3 and contrast the wicked and the righteous.
Proverbs 10:2 – “Treasures [storehouses; depositories] of wickedness [ill-gotten gain] profit nothing [unprofitable; the wicked perish with their wealth]: but righteousness [righteous deeds; moral uprightness] delivereth [rescues] from death.”
Christ’s parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16-21) illustrates the truth Solomon is teaching his son in Proverbs 10:2. The fool’s plot and passion for wealth and possessions is never satisfied; his dream of hoarding riches to perpetuate a life of drinking and debauchery cut short by his appointment with death and God’s judgment. The righteous man, justified by his faith and trust in the Lord, sets his affections on the eternal and is delivered from the judgment of God (John 3:16).
Proverbs 10:3 – “The LORD [Jehovah; Eternal; Self-existent] will not suffer [lit. to be hungry; suffer famine] the soul of the righteous [just; lawful; innocent] to famish [to be hungry; suffer famine]: but he casteth away [expels; drives out] the substance [desire; greed] of the wicked [ungodly; evil].”
As a reminder, Proverbs are general truths, but not guaranteed promises. In other words, generally speaking, the truths set forth by Solomon are true, but there are exceptions in the will and purpose of God.
For example, while Proverbs 10:3 states God providentially cares for His people, some of God’s most faithful servants have suffered physically for their faith and service to God. The apostle Paul enumerated his sufferings as the minister of Christ in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27; however, his faith sustained him and he looked past his trials. Paul was confident that God was glorified in the extremity of his need.
The wicked are driven by their passions and greed, but die frustrated, unhappy and hopeless. To make that point, I will allow the psalmist to speak:
Psalm 37:16 – “A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.”
Application – It is better to be poor and declared a righteous man by God, than to be wealthy and wicked in the sight of God who tries men’s hearts and rewards them according to their deeds (Galatians 6:7-9).
Psalm 49:6-7 – “They that trust [lean on] in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches; 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother [and by implication, himself], nor give to God a ransom for him:”
Application – Riches and possessions might offer a man a fleeting sense of satisfaction and pleasure; however, they merit no favor with a holy God.
My friend, where is your treasure?
Matthew 6:19-21 – “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”