Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 18:23
"The poor man utters supplications, but the rich man answers roughly"
God, through Solomon, is trying to get us to realize that when we feel like we are on the top of our game and successful, we are less inclined to learn something and more inclined to be rude, arrogant, and dismissive of others.
This is the Hebrew word rush, which means to be in want or to be actually poor. Many in our own day believe we are in poverty when we do not have enough for our cable TV bill. But this type of poverty is the type that nobody wants. Biblical poverty is where one does not have the basics of life: no food, shelter, clothing, or drink. This is real poverty – not knowing where your next meal will come from and what you will do.
This is the Hebrew word tehinna, which means to be gracious toward, to find favor. It often has the idea of pity or mercy. There is clearly a casting aside of one's need for self-preservation and ego and instead a real asking for help that leaves one in the submissive position.
This is the Hebrew word oser, which means riches or having an abundance. If a person had abundance, that meant that they had gold, silver, or grain piled up to the point at which they did not need to be looking every day for where the next meal would come from – they had abundance. The equivalent in our day are people who do not live from paycheck to paycheck but instead have more than they need for any one week or month. When this pile of assets reaches the place where it can completely sustain your lifestyle without ever working again, then you are what Solomon would call “in abundance.” You should be more ready to share than you have ever been; but often people become more selfish, greedy, and hoarding than they were when they were working for their weekly paycheck. The idea here is that those who are in need are much more inclined to be teachable, adaptable, and kind with others.
There is no sin or crime in having a large amount of assets so that one is freed up to do philanthropic or charitable work, but one must not just pile up assets for oneself. Abundance is for sharing either through freeing up one’s time or through direct generosity.
This is the Hebrew word az, which means strong or emotionally designed to carry the day. When you have nothing to lose, you go for broke. Then it is easier to make the bold play.
Be careful of how your attitude will change based upon your own resources. Jesus himself said that it is the poor in spirit who will associate with him in heaven. One should be as humble in their dealings with people as if they had no money in the bank and were dependent upon the kindness of strangers to make ends meet for that day. Make sure that you are clearly building up your bank account of good works in heaven. Heaven will not be a place where money will do one any good; only the treasure of God works toward God and man.
There are two lessons for today:
1. Are you humble, teachable, and kind with everyone? Start being that to everyone.
2. Has your abundance changed you into a person with arrogance and feelings of superiority over people? Stop that and go back to lesson number one.