Thursday, March 10, 2005

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise!

Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
  And the man who gains understanding;
For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
  And her gain than fine gold.
She is more precious than rubies,
  And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
Length of days is in her right hand,
  In her left hand riches and honor.
(Proverbs 3:13-16)
Here is God’s desire for His people: Wisdom! Wisdom brings happiness. So, we see that God wants us to be happy. Some will protest, “No, God wants us to be holy,” as if holiness and happiness are in some sort of competition (they are not) and we have to choose between one and the other (we do not).

Other people will want to “spiritualize” the whole thing, by which they actually mean to divorce the spiritual from the material and ignore the material altogether. But what happen in the natural has everything to do with what happens in the spirit, and in fact, flows from the spirit.

Still others will say that these are only principles, not promises. But is God a respecter of persons, doing for one what He will not do for another? No, he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him in faith (Hebrews 11:6). He will show His salvation to all who love Him (Psalm 91:16). Nothing is left out of that salvation.

Even others suggest that, since God is sovereign, we can never know what He’s going to do? But we can know what God is going to do — He’s going to keep His Word. The sovereignty of God does not mitigate that in any way. Rather, His sovereignty is the assurance that He is going to do whatever He has said He will do.

This does not mean that there is nothing that can block us from receiving these things. There are things that can become a great obstacles to fully enjoying God’s blessings. Unbelief is one. Unwillingness to forgive is another. But if we are willing to deal with those roadblocks, God will move heaven and earth to fulfill His Word on our behalf.

Now, notice that Wisdom is pictured as holding out her hands. In her left hand is length of days, that is, long life. God’s promise has as much to do with the natural realm as with the spiritual. This is not a protracted state of feeble, doddering life, but life that is vibrant and healthy. It is youth renewed by that satisfying of our desires with good things (Psalm 103:5). It is life that is fresh and flourishing and fruitful, even in old age, to declare that the LORD is righteous (Psalm 92:14-15).

In her left hand, Wisdom brings forth riches, not only spiritual riches, but material riches as well. “Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who delights greatly in His commandments …Wealth and riches will be in his house” (Psalm 112:1, 3). Here again, wealth and riches has as much to do with the natural realm as with the spiritual.

Wisdom also brings honor. “The LORD will give grace and glory (the NIV says “favor and honor”); no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). Wisdom releases the favor of God into our lives.

Honor is not an idle “feel good” concept. It has substance to it. The word for honor/glory here is kabod, and literally refers to the weight of good and valuable things. Spiritual blessing, certainly, but also material blessing as well. God does not withhold it from those who walk uprightly, those who walk in wisdom.

God wants you and me to be healthy, wealthy and wise. He wants us happy as well as holy. He wants us to live long and strong on the earth, and to be fresh and flourishing and fruitful, even in our old age. The main thing is to lay hold of the wisdom of God.