Wealth of the Wicked
Does God give scriptural instruction on how we should obtain this wealth that has been laid up for the righteous? How do I achieve this miracle I really need?
– JB from Chicago, Illinois
Proverbs (Part 1)
Your question made me chuckle. I’ve never heard anyone ask it before. You must be a really practical person. You don’t just want some promise floating out there in “promise land”; you want to get down to the specifics of bringing it on home. Well I will try to answer but I don’t guarantee exactly the answer you’re hoping for.
First, what is the promise? Some readers out there may never have heard of it. Proverbs 13:22 says: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
The book of Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings attributed to Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. They represent principles that are true. Most cultures have proverbs in some written or oral form. The thing that is different about these from others is that they are included as a book of the Bible. That means their truth ultimately has God’s penmanship on them.
Still, you cannot always so easily connect the dots from the principle to the reality of the promise. For instance, Proverbs 13:11 says; “Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labor increases it.” There are times when we might see wealth obtained by fraud increase rather than dwindle. Also, labor does not always produce increase – some people work with skimpy results. Ultimately the verse is true but we may not easily observe it case by case.
Does that mean you cannot take the verse in question (or any of them) and claim them as promises in your life? No, we can claim them and I will address how. First though, we need to understand that to see the truth our perspective may have to change or we might have to dig deeper, well below the surface. When results seem to vary, here’s a helpful proverb to the point I’m trying to make: it’s the exception which proves the rule.
How it works (Part 2)
If you are currently collecting a paycheck, it’s possible that you are already benefiting from this Bible promise about the wealth of the wicked being stored up for the righteous.
Suppose you work for a big conglomerate company employing thousands of people. Maybe an ungodly, unrighteous man owns it but he has a tremendous knack for business. Or maybe the company is publicly traded and is simply owned by a bunch of stock market investors. If so, your salary and benefits such as healthcare and 401K programs can be considered one way someone else’s wealth is being passed through to you already.
Did you ever consider your job as a fulfillment of Proverbs 13:22? There are other ways too. The wealth of individuals or even governments often trickles down to those under them. The United States is a very wealthy nation and even the poorest individuals experience a higher standard of living than they would if they were living in a poorer nation.
These are examples to consider regarding the truth of God’s principles. I believe God sometimes allows the unrighteous to continue to prosper just so God’s people can continue to be blessed. He’s doing it for us. Yet, that’s not what you were looking for is it? You are looking for a more direct connection.
Promises for ME (Part 3)
Now I will give you some other general “principles” to make God’s principles work for you directly. The first one is crucial and is often overlooked by people in a hurry to claim all of God’s blessings without reading the fine print.
You must fulfill any conditions of the promise. Okay, in the case of Proverbs 13:22, are there conditions? This is a promise for those who are “righteous” which means those who are in right standing with God. Ultimately, no person can claim to be righteous without appropriating for themselves the blood of Jesus shed for them on the cross. None of us are righteous on our own.
That said; we each need to examine our own life against the standard set forth in God’s Word. If we are cheating on our income tax or visiting pornographic Internet sites or neglecting our family or holding unforgiveness against someone, we are not in the best position to claim God’s richest blessings. Living each day in personal repentance and humbly seeking grace for failure is.
Secondly, remove by faith anything that hinders your ability to receive God’s best. I already mentioned sin but it’s possible that there are other hindrances. For instance, there may be generational curses present in your family line. If poverty has been in your family for more than one generation, I would consider the possibility that some curse is at work. Break it and ask God’s help to remove any ungodly mindset that holds you back.
Enforce the Word of God. This is where many of us fall short, especially if things don’t change instantly. God’s Word is true and eternal but often must be fought for with great tenacity, perseverance AND faith. The devil, your adversary, is not going to give up easily. He is out to prevent God’s Word from bearing actual fruit in your life. He is the promise spoiler – if you let him.
A final suggestion is to seek God himself over any promise in his Word. Keep your priorities straight and you will always have everything you need in great abundance. “‘But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.'” (Matthew 6:33)