Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 3:10
"So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine."
This is a very important verse that shares a rather down-to-earth reason why wisdom is the best way to live. Solomon says that those who are wise have an abundance of the basics of life.
The barns were the place to store the grains that were the staple of the farming economy. So to have barns that are filled means that you have had a number of years of rich harvests; so much, in fact, that you have more than you can eat. Your needs are met.
The barns also were the storage place for wealth accumulation just like a savings account or an investment is for us. For them to have their barns filled meant that each of the various categories of their budget were filled and ready to be spent on the needs of life. Many of us live paycheck to paycheck and do not know the feeling of having our savings accounts filled and ready – accounts like Christmas gifts account, new tires account, back-to-school account, birthday account, vacation account, home repair and improvement account, mortgage account. These and many others are a part of life. What this proverb is telling us is if we follow the simple, yet profound, advice of God's wisdom, we will have enough to fill out these categories.
Notice what the advice is in Proverbs 3:3-9:
Never stop being loving and truthful.
Follow the Lord's way in your actions and speech.
Pray to God and let people know that you are a Christian in every direction you take.
Don't think you have life figured out; be fearful of offending God and walk away from opportunities to sin.
Tithe a tenth of your income to God.
If we do these simple rules, we will enjoy a life in which the basics of life are abundantly met. I personally would testify to the truth of this proverb. God has done exactly these things out of His grace for me and my desire to be wise.
and your vats will overflow with new wine
Wine was the common drink of that day. It was usually diluted to be about 2-3% alcohol in that day. It was one of the safest liquids to drink because the bacteria in the wine killed or held back the germs in the water. Pure running water coming out of a spring with a known source was the best drink, but wine was safe and represented a safe and sure thirst quencher. So to have more wine than one can store meant that one would never have to go thirsty.
God is not promising that we can have enough wine to get drunk for that is not the use of wine in those days, and it would be very difficult to get drunk on the wine that was only 2-3% alcohol. The wine would have to be drunk without diluting it which was only prescribed for those whose life was especially bitter and had basically given up on life.
God is promising in this proverb incredibly strong advantages to being wise. You will have your basic needs met beyond your ability to consume them.
Unfortunately in our culture, this is not impressive. We want our wants met beyond our ability to conceive of them. This is not where God wants us to go. To go down this road will lead to the love of money and materialism. God is saying that there are real tangible benefits to the life of a believer who lives wisely. They will have abundance.
Our abundance will be of that which meets our basic needs. Now there is also another aspect to the having of abundance righteously that we need to talk about that is not specifically mentioned in this passage but is mentioned in the New Testament. That is that gaining wealth and abundance God's way gives a large pile of stuff; but more importantly, it does not add sorrow to it. (1 Timothy 6:5-10) It is one thing to compare the size of your pile; it is another to look and see how many sorrows and stresses have been added to gain or keep your pile. It is better to have a smaller pile of abundance if it comes without sorrow and stress.
Abundant food and abundant drink are available and will come to the one who is wise.
One balancing statement must be pointed out that is mentioned later in the Proverbs – that the abundance that is coming to those who are wise sometimes can be wiped out by injustice and/or laziness. The Proverbs say: Abundant food is in the fallow ground of the poor but injustice sweeps it away. It will be a terrible thing to face Jesus in judgment if we have been involved in sweeping away the abundance that was supposed to come to one of God's wise children.