What makes you feel safe and secure? What do you rely upon to make you confident about these things. Today in our look at Proverbs we will see how two types of people seek security and safety, but how only one of them will truly obtain it.
Our proverb tells us of a man who "trusts in his riches." The word for trust is the Hebrew word "batah" which means to not just trust, but to have a confident trust. This man feels secure and safe - without fear - as a result of his riches. He may have a bank account that is full - a set of stocks that are the best on the market in returns - plus a sure-fire business model that assures him of success in life for years and years to come. This is what makes him feel confident - his wealth. Here is the problem with this man. Scripture tells us that the one who trusts in his riches will fall. This word is a very frightening one. It means to fall down to a prostrate position. Here it has the idea of being overthrown. The overthrow described here is death. Regardless of what amount of money you have - and how secure that you think it is - your money will not survive your death. In Psalm 49:5-9 we read the following, "Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me, even those who trust in their wealth And boast in the abundance of their riches? No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him— for the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever— that he should live on eternally, That he should not undergo decay."
The Psalmist here reminds us that no amount of money will be able to pay for a soul and the redemption it needs. The man who trusts in his wealth - who thinks that the abundance of his riches will rescue him from death and from the punishment due for his sins - is in for a tremendous amount of disappointment. The day will come when he will stand on the same footing as any other human being - and have to give an account for his sin. If anything, the fact that he has wealth and riches will make his judgment even more stringent. Jesus said that to whom much is given - much will be required. The man who trusted in his riches rather than trusting in Jesus Christ - will end up in the lake of fire for all eternity.
The righteous are contrasted with this unwise rich man. In fact we are told that the righteous man will flourish like a green leaf. This is the man who realized that there is no amount of money that could ever pay for redemption. His desire to please God and to honor Him will make this man do everything in his power to obey God. He does not look for a righteousness based on money - or even on his own good works. He knows that the man who will flourish in this life and stand in the next is the man who has been justified (made righteous) by faith. Thus his life is not spend trying to earn God's favor and love - he knows that such things have already been purchased by the blood of Christ. His desire is rather to listen to God - walk in fellowship with Him - and - out of that fellowship enjoy spiritual growth. This is why he will flourish like the green leaf. He is not trusting in growing himself. He trusts in a God who blesses him first with righteousness to stand in His presence - and then trusts Him to lead him in the way that will glorify God in all that he does.
What are you trusting to make you secure? If you think your security depends on how much money you have here in this life - or how great your wealth and insurance coverage is - you will lose everything. If instead you see that there is only really one security issue, you will do well. If you grasp that the clear and present danger is the wrath of God for sin - you will choose the way that will make you stand righteous in that day - and that righteousness only comes through the gospel - and the gift of it by God in response to repentance and faith in those who believe on Jesus.