11 Wisdom along with an inheritance is good
And an advantage to those who see the sun.
12 For wisdom is protection just as money is protection,
But the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the lives of its possessors.
13 Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
14 In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.
Solomon ends his list of proverbs with an exhortation of wisdom. I’d like to paraphrase what Solomon is saying here in an attempt to make what he is saying more clear: Having things isn’t necessarily bad because they help us live a more pleasant life on earth and having both an abundance plus wisdom is advantageous. However, we must recognize that money (possessions) isn’t everything because while they help us in life, they will not save our lives. Only our wisdom and knowledge will save our life when we need it to. Know this and be wise to not forget: God has a plan and purpose for everything and it is foolish to work against it and our purpose is to live fully as He has designed us to because it is all we have in this earth worth anything.
It’s possible that proponents of the prosperity gospel use this to justify their attitudes towards plentifulness. Let us not mix the message or utilize cut and paste theology to make us feel good about ourselves. Yes, God wants us to enjoy ourselves and it is ok to have “stuff,” but it isn’t the real purpose why we are here nor shall it become our god. The creation is still designed to serve the creator and therefore we are to serve God and in this we will be ultimately happy. We would be wise to seek after God’s design for our lives (instead of what we think we know) because our lives are short and anything otherwise is just a waste: chasing after wind.
Verse 14 presents a curious juxtaposition of reasons for prosperity and adversity, doesn’t it? Just like we read that the sun rises and sets on the righteous and unrighteous alike, we read here that God uses prosperity and adversity to keep us humble. Humility in spirit is essential for us to not think we are God or better than God or His plan, His design. Some people think that “God screwed up” because man failed to remain faithful. If we believe God is truly sovereign, then we must accept that He knew we would sin. The question is why? Why would He let us sin? So that man will not discover anything that will be after him. Our sinfulness forces us to recognize who God really is. Don’t believe me? How many times throughout the scriptures do we find evidence of man turning his back on god and either creating his own god or trying to make themselves like god until the real God has the show them who God really is? Stories like Cain and Abel, Noah, The Exodus, The Great Dispersion, Jesus’ Sacrifice, and the Apocalypse are just glimpses of God proving His sovereignty over anything else we would deem a god.
It’s interesting that we still strive to be our own gods or create for ourselves images or ideas of gods outside of who He really is. As if that isn’t enough, we then try to justify our actions and qualify them as righteous when deep down we know it isn’t, yet we ignore the truth and try to create our own. We even deny that we have exalted other people and things above God Himself! We read the following in Isaiah 45:
“I am the Lord, and there is none else.
19 “I have not spoken in secret,
In some dark land;
I did not say to the offspring of Jacob,
‘Seek Me in a waste place’;
I, the Lord, speak righteousness,
Declaring things that are upright.
20 “Gather yourselves and come;
Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations;
They have no knowledge,
Who carry about their wooden idol
And pray to a god who cannot save.
21 “Declare and set forth your case;
Indeed, let them consult together.
Who has announced this from of old?
Who has long since declared it?
Is it not I, the Lord?
And there is no other God besides Me,
A righteous God and a Savior;
There is none except Me.
22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
For I am God, and there is no other.
23 “I have sworn by Myself,
The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness
And will not turn back,
That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.
24 “They will say of Me, ‘Only in the Lord are righteousness and strength.’
Men will come to Him,
And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame.
25 “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel
Will be justified and will glory.”
Will you continue striving after wind and trying to be your own god or make a god for yourself instead of recognizing the One True God?