Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 28:20
"A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished"
This is the Hebrew word emuna, which means faithful, steady, sure, trustable, dependable, firmness. This is a basic idea of faith – that something is sure and can be depended upon.
Solomon is trying to point out that people put a lot of trust in money and wealth, but it does not provide like faithfulness and being someone that others can count on.
One of the concepts that I am trying to get across to my girls is that each of them has nine gardens in their life – nine relationships that make up their life. If they will put in the work to have blooming relationships in each of those gardens, then they will have a great life. If they try and put too much effort or expectation on any one area or relationship, then they will not have a full life. Many people in our day put too much of a burden on their marriage relationship or the amount of money they have or make. Neither of these – in isolation – can supply all that is needed for a full and good life. It takes all the relationships to do that. These are the nine relationships, the nine gardens: God-Self-Marriage-Family-Work-Church-Money-Society-Friends. I tell the girls that they need to make sure that the decisions that they make will promote strong, lasting, and righteous relationships in each of these areas. This way of seeking a great life will take longer to bloom than temptation’s way, but it will yield a much better crop than the shortcuts that unrighteousness offers.
Realize that it takes time to build up a super, trusting relationship with your spouse. It takes time and experiences together to have a great family. It takes time to gain the trust of your bosses or to establish your own business. It takes time to gain strong and steady investments. It takes time to gain loyal friends.
Solomon is reminding us that it is the one who can be trusted, who is faithful, and stays at building relationships who will have blessings and not the one who wants everything quickly without hard work or strategic planning. Unfortunately we want shortcuts for everything – even deep, lasting, and intimate relationships. It is not possible to gain a life full of great relationships that way.
Realize that every relational area has temptations that offer a shortcut way to get where you want to go. Solomon picks money and says that those who want to get rich or have abundance through a shortcut will be punished for their impulsiveness. Temptation offers stealing, cheating, cutting corners, and other ways as the means to accomplish the desired goal. It doesn't work.
Little investments made over time bring blessings. Being faithful and steady are the way to build a garden of delights in each area of life. It just doesn't seem like it. I just celebrated twenty-six years of marriage to my wonderful wife. The level and joy of our marriage astounds me. I knew she was wonderful and enjoyable when we got married, but we could not have the level of intimacy and relationship then that we have today. I enjoyed seeing my children born, but the relationship I have with them now as they can interact and question and decide is so much better. All of that comes because I strive to be faithful and steady and someone that these people in my life can count on.
God is telling us through Solomon that we will be offered many opportunities to have "bliss" through some sinful or selfish option. Don't take it. It is the faithful person who gains the life that others want. The person who lives outside the Ten Commandments is advertised as having a great life, but there are deep fissures in the stability of that life – emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
Notice that Solomon uses the word “unpunished.” It is not just a matter of making a mistake and then getting back on the right road when you are lured into the realm of shortcuts and immoral behavior. There are consequences and difficulties that come crashing into our lives. These are never advertised during the seduction to the shortcut, but they will be there waiting for you. Don't go that way. Be a boring, faithful person to the people God has given you and through that means enjoy a life of blessings and abundance.