Riches are often what many of us think about at times, especially when we are having financially difficult times. What would we do if we had wealth and riches? Most of the people I know would end up not having any of it left after they received a big lump sum of money or things; myself included. I started to write here that I no longer have a desire to be wealthy; however, that would have been a flat out lie.
Millionaire is the word that used to be the catch phrase for being wealthy. Now it is Billionaire. There are several Billionaires in the United States of America, and around the world. Two of the most prominent ones in the U. S. of A. are Bill Gates who has prospered from the founding of the Microsoft corporation; and the other is Warren Buffet, and I guess Donald Trump is now in the Billionaire category as well.
There are times that those who have not are envious and angry with those who have. The Psalm I am going to look at today shows that in the heart of a man named Asaph, the writer of this Psalm and the ones that follow through to Psalm 83. My reading today was Psalms 66 – 79. Psalm 73 will be our focus for this morning.
“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Psalm 73:1-3 (KJV)
Asaph realizes that his envy has been to his own detriment. Envy profits us nothing. There are many of the wealthy who have worked hard to gain what they have, and of course, have prospered because of good timing, and good planning. I still believe that is possible for anyone in the U. S. of A. I do not believe that a person who has their heart set on wealth is going to get wealthy. Hard work, and willingness to help others have a share go a long ways in this world.
Sadly there is much evil within the gaining of riches. When one becomes wealthy they can become weaker in faith toward God, if they had it to begin with. I think it was Jerry Clower who once said, “There is no temptation like wealth to turn your heart away from God” or something similar to.
Asaph does realize that he is falling, losing his footing because of his envy. His envy, and any envy you and I may have is an enemy of our heart, soul and life.
A few years ago, a couple I think, Bill Gates challenged all the Billionaires to give away one half of their wealth. Bill Gates at the time was; on paper; worth over 50 billion dollars, and Warren Buffet about the same. Giving away half of their wealth would really be a sacrifice to them, would it not? 🙂 The reason I am a bit sarcastic about their giving effort is because the media played it up like they were really making a huge sacrifice. I saw no sacrifice. Real sacrifice is when your giving hurts; it cost you something. I applaud their giving, if they did; but their wealth has not suffered by their generosity.
I applaud even more the husband and wife, or individual who have given faithfully to the LORD, through their local church; and steadily, faithfully given at least ten percent of their wealth. They are the real bulwarks of our society. Some have given even more from annual incomes of 10,000 dollars; 20,000 dollars, 30,000 dollars, and they are blessed by their generosity. Not only that many of these people also give when the community suffers loss due to storms; or give to a friend or neighbor who has lost their jobs, or their homes to a fire. Those are the real people of wealth and generosity.
Asaph realizes his need is the LORD, and realizes the plight of the ungodly wealthy,
“Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins. So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before Thee. Nevertheless I am continually with Thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” vv.21-24
He realizes he is a recipient of the greatest wealth and richer that can be had by mankind. That wealth is having the peace of God that passes understanding, and all the wealth of Heaven at our beckoned call; and to know that when we speak with God He hears us.
Asaph ends the Psalm with,
“For, lo, they that are far from Thee shall perish: Thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from Thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Thy works.” vv. 27-28
It is good for all men, even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to draw near to God. The only way made available to us by God, to Him, is through the death, burial and resurrection of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ. All the giving in the world will not buy Heaven. It has already been purchased for us by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on that cruel, killing cross of calvary. (See 1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23).
-Tim A. Blankenship