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Pastoral Exhortation - Series of 2010

Treasures Of Wickedness Profiteth Nothing

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Proverbs 10:2a cautions us that “treasures of wickedness profit nothing”. This warning is more pertinent than ever before. Countries, organizations and individuals who have previously advocated and promoted a morally upright lifestyle and flourished economically, these days appear to have lost their determination and mettle to continue in maintaining the same principles. In the name of economic security and progress, immorality and destructive lifestyles are being accommodated everywhere. This tolerance of immoral lifestyle for economic reasons will not bring, according to the Bible, any true gain.

Treasures

The Hebrew word for “treasures” (owtsar) refers to wealth and possessions. “Treasures” are often mentioned as God’s gifts and as His rewards to His servants. The Bible promises “treasures” to those who love God and live by His Word. Proverbs 15:6a says, “In the house of the righteous is much treasure.” Likewise, Proverbs 21:20 affirms that “there is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise”. Therefore, treasure or wealth is not evil in itself.

However, if wealth is regarded above all other matters in life, especially spiritual and moral principles and duties, it becomes an evil thing. So the Scriptures say, “Labour not to be rich” (Proverbs 23:4). It is a great evil to give pre-eminence to affluence and prosperity. The Scriptures warn, “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22). So let it be our conviction that “better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich” (Proverbs 28:6).

Treasures of wickedness

 “Treasures of wickedness” refer to ill-gotten wealth. Greed and covetousness lead man to earn money through all kinds of unjust, deceptive, violent, sensual and cruel methods. “Treasures of wickedness” are the fruits of selfish desires. Proverbs 22:16 says that there is one that “oppresseth the poor to increase his riches”. There are also those who borrow much to appear rich (cf. Proverbs 13:7a), thus enslaving themselves to worries and debts.

Proverbs 13:11 talks about “wealth gotten by vanity”. It is referring to wealth gotten through greedy and wicked means; and such proved to be of no lasting value. James 5:1-5 speaks of such wealth gained through vain means — “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.”

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing

 “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.” This rancid wealth rots the heart of the one who gets it and it cannot save him from his ultimate demise. Righteousness, however, is a far more precious treasure. This righteousness of the Eternal God, this gift given to us by grace through faith, is greater than the limits of our mortality and powerful enough to redeem our soul from death.

“Treasures of wickedness” may dazzle, and furnish a greedy heart with gratification. Wealth which men get unjustly will do them no good, because God will blast it. The treasures of wicked people, more so the treasures which they have acquired through wicked or ungodly means, no matter how safely they are laid up, will profit nothing. They will not profit the soul, nor the body. They will not secure any true comfort or happiness. Instead, such treasures gained through wicked means will bring much trouble and sorrow.

Dear reader, keep yourselves away from every ungodly and filthy place set up to provide jobs and businesses. The money they offer may be huge and very attractive, but do not forget the warnings of God’s Word. Working in such places can destroy you, your family, friends and even others in society. It is better to be poor and pure than wealthy and filthy.

Pastoral Exhortation