Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:11
"A rich man's wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own imagination"
This proverb is interesting because it deals with the thought-life of rich people. They are protected because they have all this wealth. They are valuable because they have all this wealth. In many cases, they believe because they have lots of money that they are somehow better than those who have not been able to collect lots of money.
Money or treasure or wealth can become an idol or god in your life, controlling the decisions that you make and how secure you feel in this life. To have enough for the needs of one day is what God promised. To have enough stored up for more than that was to be wealthy. How much you had stored up became the measure of your wealth.
This is the Hebrew word quiryah which means city. This idea here is a fascinating one which Solomon brings up. Each of us has to have a secure place from which to operate our life. In the ancient times, the relative security of the city was the dominant place of security; but for the rich person it was not the city but instead it was the amount of riches they had. In our day and age few people think of cities in this way; we have other things that are our strong city. It could be our family, our husband/wife, our job, our degrees, our country, our money, our past, our knowledge, our personality, etc. Whatever it is, we must be careful about believing that it will be sufficient for all the difficulties of life.
The only real place of security is the Lord and His will. If we orient ourselves to doing what He wants and what will please Him, then we will be ultimately secure no matter what happens. Our wealth, reward, and future will be secure.
This is the Hebrew word homa which is wall. In those days of conventional warfare, the walls of a city were its number one defense. If a city had high and thick walls, then it was safe. There were no airplanes; there were no explosives; there were no rockets or missiles or long-range projectiles. So the safest defense was a high wall. This is what the rich man is thinking. I am incredibly safe and secure behind all this wealth.
This is the Hebrew word maskith which means showpiece, figure, imagination. This word also was used for idols and images of stone. The idea is that this high wall was in his mind, but also it has become an idol or something controlling his thinking. He is always thinking about it. The people in a city oriented their life to the wall – were they inside of its protection? Were they outside? It became a dominant idea in their minds.
It would be interesting if we asked: What are you always thinking about? What do you orient your life according to? Hopefully it will be the Lord. If the Lord is your answer, then you are living in the fear of the Lord.