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What Does the Bible Say about the Wealth of the Wicked?

Proverbs is a fascinating book written by King Solomon and found in the Old Testament. Solomon is the second child of King David and Bathsheba.

In 1 Kings 3:7-9, Solomon prays and asks God for a wealth of wisdom to discern and govern the people — that prayer was granted by God in the same chapter.

As a result of that wisdom, King Solomon pens the words in Proverbs. Christians refer to it in times of questions and when in need of answers.

We could spend months searching through the Book of Proverbs and would find gold on every page. But today, we will focus on the verse found in chapter 13, verse 22.

They say:

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

The Wealth of the Good Vs. the Wicked

The Scripture we read makes a direct comparison between the good man and the sinner and doesn’t hold back when clearly depicting the inheritance or, rather, if an inheritance is left behind them.

Let us first look at this verse back to front. For it says the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. Firstly, I do not believe this verse is taken literally, but rather it is a general statement — a proverb that is not a universal declaration. But here we see the wealth of the sinner is not sure and fixed, but it can be lost.

David Guzik says of this verse: “The sinner may have wealth, and this may be a discouragement to the righteous. Yet confident in the judgments of God, the righteous know that all things are theirs and God can, if He wishes, transfer the wealth of the sinner to the righteous.”

Friend, how often have you been annoyed as you watched someone who you know blaspheme and live an unholy life, thrive, and be blessed in the things of this world?

How often have you been frustrated by this kind of living when you are living a holy life and feel as though you never get by?

It is so easy to do, of course; we have all been caught in that trap at least once in our lives. We don’t wish poverty on the sinner, but likewise, we would like to see the same blessing.

This verse reminds us that their wealth is only theirs for as long as God says so. It also reminds us that the sinner has nothing to pass on in regard to moral or ethical inheritance. They have left no value or legacy behind them.

Now that we have peeked into the life of the sinner let’s delve into the life of the righteous. As a reminder, this verse says: A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.

While the sinner is unable to leave an inheritance, the righteous man is the one who does. But he can only do that by ensuring he is spending his money wisely and storing up wealth to leave for not only his children but his grandchildren yet to come.

The Bible and Money

We know from Psalm 24:1 that the earth is the Lord's and everything in it. Therefore, all that we have, all we own, is God's, to begin with, or came from God. That includes our money. As a result, it is our job, as believers, to steward not only our time and talents but also God's money well.

It is important that we are making appropriate spending, we are saving where we can, and we are giving to the church, to the poor, and to the widow also. I know there any many schools of thought on tithe, whether we should or shouldn’t etc.

I read Malachi 3:10, which tells us, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

God is clear; we are to bring the church our tithe. In doing so, we trust the church to use this money wisely to assist the poor, bless the widow, and feed the homeless. It is not our money to squander on frivolous things but rather to use for the glory of God in whatever way God prompts us.

I know personally how easy it is to spend foolishly and increase my debt in the process. I’m sure, for some of you, this resonates.

However, the Word of God says in Galatians 5 that we are to be people who practice the fruits of the spirit; one of those listed is the fruit of self-control (v. 23).

A life filled with impulsive living is not what God calls us to. But purposeful and prayerful living, not temporary thinkers but ones with eternity in mind.

The good man must therefore be doing these things, stewarding well, and putting self-control and eternal living into practice, or he wouldn’t have the money left over to ensure it is happening.

Dave Ramsey says of this verse, “The righteous man is living with his goals, vision, and legacy front and center.” Of course, Ramsey goes on to tell us that “this is not limited only to money,” and I would strongly agree. A legacy left behind by a person is worth more than any monetary gain.

My father died recently, and the one thing I owe most to him is that he encouraged me to read Scripture. He had many flaws, but giving credit where credit is due, I value that lesson most. It is one legacy I hope to pass on to my own children and their children.

What if we were to be a people who were classed as righteous? What could that do to our family line?

Maybe our kids would escape the poverty we lived in by simply budgeting properly, escaping the debt wheel, and ignoring the rat race.

Maybe our kids could escape the generational trauma we know so well. The hurts, the wounds, the fear, simply by choosing our partner well and trusting God to be the center of our marriages.

Maybe they could have an education we were denied.

Maybe they could have a family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, all things we never had because of family breakdowns.

Maybe our kids could escape teen pregnancy, weekend drinking, and addiction problems, all because we protected them and educated them.

What if our kids could know the value of prayer, the depth of Scripture, and the importance of church family because we declared as per Joshua, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Friend, I do not believe that all the hard moments in life can be fully prevented. We can have holy homes, educate often, and pray well, and sometimes our family breaks down, our kids become unruly, our finances decrease, and nothing can change that.

But what if we could make differences where we could and trusted God with the outcomes? Wouldn’t it be incredible to see chains broken in your family line because you said, “no more!”?

What Does This Mean?

A righteous man leaves a legacy for not only his children but their children and every generation yet to be.

Why not join me in choosing to make changes, in choosing to leave a lasting legacy, one that will outlive us and be the compass to the generations of the family we may never get to meet?

For further reading:

How Did Jesus View Wealth and Poverty?

Did Paul Teach That 'Money Is the Root of All Evil'?

Do Some Wander from their Faith Because of the Love of Money?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Oleksandr Shchus


SWN authorMichelle Treacy is a Christian writer, a wife to Gerald, and a busy mother of three, Emily, Ava Rose, and Matthew. Finding time to write is not always easy. However, Michelle’s desire to write about Jesus, and passion to teach is what motivates her. Michelle writes on Instagram Michelle_Treacy_ and for CrimsonSeasCA. Also, on WordPress at Thoughts From My Bible. If you meet her in person, you will likely find her with two things in hand, a good Christian book, and a cup of tea!

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