What about our attempts to bless others? Can they be misguided, such as when we co-sign loans? Can they be a snare to the receiver and to us?
1 Kings 9 & 10
Dangers of Wealth, Education & Co-Signing Loans
1 Kings 9 & 10:
Wealth & Education
Solomon has been king for some time and God had blessed him and the nation of Israel beyond imagination. Can you imagine a time in history when the blessings of God were so great that silver was accounted for nothing? And, in fact, the gold that Solomon acquired was measured in “talents.” A talent was 100 pounds and would probably be worth over $5,000,000.00 today.
And it wasn’t just the monetary blessings, God had blessed Solomon with great wisdom—so much so—that the Queen of Sheba traveled 1200 miles at a time when there were no jets, no trains, not even cars, only camels, horses and carts—just to see if it was true!
But then to see how the sinful nature of man can allow even the blessings of God to become a snare. Solomon began to accumulate wealth in a way that he had been forbidden to do. It’s not that it’s wrong to “save” or to have money in the bank, or even to have material goods. Remember, God gave Joseph the wisdom to set aside stores of food to last Egypt through 7 years of famine and enough to sell to people from other nations.
But when we quit relying on God and begin to rely on the “strength of horses” and how many “talents of gold” we have stored up, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Today we may not rely on horses and we may or may not have much gold, but we can easily rely on our retirement plans, our 401Ks, the Social Security System or the government, when God wants us to rely on Him. He is to be our source and our trust is to be in Him, no matter what means He uses to meet our needs.
And what about much learning? Is there danger in education?
Even great wisdom, if it’s the world’s wisdom instead of God’s, can be a stumbling block. Romans 1 tells us:
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools” (vv. 20-22).
That is the state of much of our educational system today.
Once we begin to focus on things other than God, we can easily be drawn into greater and greater sin. In tomorrow’s reading we’ll see the downward spiral of sin in Solomon’s life.
Today’s Other Readings:
Up to Your Neck in Problems
Have you ever felt like the psalmist—so overwhelmed with problems that you felt like you were “up to your neck in them”? Here the psalmist was even falsely blamed for being the source of the problems. Tomorrow we will see that in spite of it all, the writer kept his eyes on God knowing that He would vindicate him in due time.
Verse 18, “A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, and becomes surety for his friend.”
The word “understanding” is often used in Proverbs and means “the ability to process information.”
This verse is about “co-signing.” So we could paraphrase it, “A man without the ability to process information co-signs for a friend.”
That’s pretty clear, isn’t it?
Besides not being the wise thing for us as the co-signer, it is usually the wrong thing to do where the other person is concerned. There is often a reason they are unable to purchase something on their own: their age, their income, or past decisions, for example. Too many times we are getting in the way of God’s work in their lives and allowing them to get in over their heads.
There may be a few exceptions, but I have found they are few and far between.
Anger or Belief
In chapter 11 Jesus had performed the great miracle of raising Lazarus after he had been dead for four days. It caused some to believe and others to plot to kill him (11.45, 53). The same is true today. While God’s handiwork is everywhere, those who choose not to believe are not only not persuaded, but angry at the suggestion He is at work!
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