Get Wisdom: Prosperity in Finances part one
Given By: "Glenn D. Blank" On Saturday, January 14, 2012

Biblical wisdom is uncommon sense!  Why do I say that biblical wisdom is uncommon sense?

Because it goes against our natural inclinations and because few people really have it.

Biblical wisdom goes against common sense.  For example, take biblical wisdom about finances:

.    Naturally people are impressed when rich people show off their wealth, but wisdom isn't. Vanity! Riches vanish. True riches are the kind that you take into eternity.

.    Naturally people believe that money will make us secure, but wisdom says that whoever put his trust in riches will fall.

.    Naturally people focus on acquiring wealth; wisdom says give generously & lend freely.

.    Naturally people think rich people have it made in the shade, yet Yeshua said, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Biblical wisdom is uncommon sense because few people really have it.

.    For example, many people are in debt simply because they spend more money than they have.

They borrow money and become a slave to creditors.  Many believers do so as well.

I saw in the news that in Nov., Americans spent a record amount & borrowed a record amount.

Brothers and sisters, the Bible says: get wisdom! V'eemru? (And let us say?)

Some economists that might be good news-is consumer confidence rebounding?

Brothers and sisters, there is a mountain of debt out there! If we consumers are borrowing more money to spend more money we don't have, how does that make sense?  Get wisdom!

So today I will present a few principles about wealth and finances, mostly based on Proverbs.

.    I must stress that Proverbs has a lot to say on the subject!  And Yeshua has a lot to say, too!

.    So much that today's message will be the first of a two-part mini-series..

Principle #1: Wisdom promises prosperity.  That's good news, isn't it!  It is, if you get wisdom!

.    Proverbs 8:18. "With me [wisdom] are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity."

.    Proverbs 22:4. "Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life."

.    Deuteronomy 8:18 says, "the LORD your God . gives you the ability to produce wealth."

God wants to bless His people.  V'eemru? 

.    Now you may be thinking, is our Rabbi preaching the "prosperity gospel"?

.    Not exactly.  There is a core of truth in some prosperity teaching, but we must take into account all that the Bible and wisdom literature has to say about wealth. V'eemru?

.    The core of truth is that Hashem does want to bless his people with prosperity.

.    He wants us to learn how to remove obstacles that may prevent us from receiving this blessing.

.    One obstacle is unbelief.  If the Torah teaches, "the LORD your God . gives you the ability to produce wealth," how should we respond?  Amen!  Father, your will be done!  V'eemru?

.    Yet sometimes believers get caught in lies or curses.

.    For example, some people think that money is the root of evil.  What's wrong with this picture?

.    1Tim 6:10 actually says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, ?eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

.    Scripture warns against the love of money, an affection or attachment to money.

.    Our love and attachment and be in Hashem.  In God we trust (as it is written on our money)!

.    Money, per se, is not evil, and the Lord wants his people to use it wisely.

.    So Yeshua tells a parable about servants receiving one, five and ten talents of gold, ?then coming back to reward those who had invested wisely. 

.    Prosperity can be a blessing, if handled properly.  The Lord does want to bless us. V'eemru?

Principle #2: True prosperity-wealth worth having-flows from honoring God.

.    The promise of prosperity has a context, in Deuteronomy 8:17-18. "You may say to yourself, 'My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.' But remember ?the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your forefathers, as it is today."

.    What's the warning here?  What happened to the children of Israel once they settled in the land?

.    Once the pioneers of America produced the wealthiest country in the history of the world.

.    But what has happened to their children and their children's children?

.    Prov 11:4, "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."

.    Contrast Prov 3:9-10. "Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine."

.    It starts with honoring Hashem.  It starts with remembering that Hashem, not my own power or cleverness, is the source of every good thing, because He remembers his covenant.  V'eemru?

.    Prosperity apart from honoring God is worthless in the end.  True prosperity honors God.

.    Yeshua warns us, in Matt. 6:24, "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

.    Or as the KJV renders: "Ye cannot serve both God and mammon." 

.    Mammon was an Aramaic word meaning 'wealth' or possibly "that in which one trusts."

.    Mammon or money offers us a false god, false security and false significance.

.    Does your heart cling to money or to the everlasting God? Let's do a gut check.

.    If you are lusting after this piece of paper, just remember, it's here today, gone tomorrow.

.    So many people have large houses but broken homes.

.     Prov 15:16-17 says: "Better a little with the fear of the LORD than great wealth with turmoil. Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred."

.    Let your security and trust be in God, not money.  V'eemru?

That leads us to Principle #3: "Godliness with contentment is great gain." 1 Timothy 6:6.

.    Why is contentment great gain?  Godly contentment expresses our abiding trust in God.

Hebrews 13:5 says: "Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

.    Contentment is a biblical balance to pursuing prosperity for its own sake. 

Paul expresses wisdom when he says, in Php 4:12, "I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."

.    The Lord does not want us to worry or be anxious, but to trusting and content. V'eemru?

.    What is the opposite of contentment?  Hint: think of the 10 commandments. Coveting. 

.    Coveting craves for something else.  Madison Avenue teaches us to covet, but the Word of God teaches us to be content.  V'eemru?

In Proverbs 30:8-9, a wise man says: "Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only ?my daily bread.  Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD?' ?Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.'"

.    Contentment is not the same as poverty, but trusting in God.

.    Our daily bread is not a few crumbs, but all we need to be live and be satisfied, as the children of Israel received manna from heaven.   But alas, they craved the leeks and onions of Egypt..

Prov 11:28. "Whoever trusts in riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

Pr 28:20. "A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished."

Principle #4: The godly way to prosperity is usually involves diligence and work.

Proverbs 13:11. "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow."

Proverbs 12:11 "He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment." Proverbs 28:19 repeats the same idea. So it must be important.

.    Bobby S. once shared with me a story about a family in Israel who trusted the Lord to provide them with airline tickets.  Once, when they got to the airport, someone did give them the tickets.

.    But several other times they went, and there were no tickets for them.

.    The Lord does want us to have a child-like trust that he can provide manna from heaven.

.    But He also wants us to be responsible and diligent.

 So Proverbs 21:25-26. "The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. All day long he craves for more, but the righteous give without sparing."

.    Laziness is a major cause of poverty.  Alas, a government welfare system, while well meaning, tends to reinforce poverty with a spirit of entitlement. If at all possible, get up and work!

Hebrews 6:12 says, "We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised."

2 Thessalonians 3:10 says, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat."

.    Hashem rewards faith and patience and hard work.  V'eemru?

 Abraham Lincoln wrote: "Prosperity is the fruit of labor.   Teach economy.  That is one of the first and highest virtues.  It begins with saving money." 

Principle #5: Avoid or reduce debt.

Proverbs 22:7. "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant [or slave] to the lender."

.    In Solomon's day, this happened literally: if a man couldn't pay off a debt, he sold himself ?(or his children) as a slave.

.    How do people sell themselves into slavery today?

Today many consumers become slaves to MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express.

.    With their high interests and fees, it's wise to pay off all credit card bills immediately!

Proverbs 22:26-27. "Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; ?if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you."

.    Solomon was warning about borrowing money without sufficient collateral.

.    A mortgage is one thing - it is borrowing against the equity of a house-if there's real equity!

.    Credit card debt is another - get out of credit card debt!

.    Still, I paid off my mortgage as quickly as I could.  Then I was free to help my children go to college, or reduce what our family needs for me to serve you as your Rabbi full-time.

.    Just because a new car smells nice, beware of borrowing for one or leasing you cannot afford.

.    The Lord's wants to free his children from the trap of debt.

.    The Great Madison Avenue Lie is this: you need to buy things you don't need, with money you don't have, from people you don't even like.

.    How many of you are struggling with debt?  Hashem wants you to be free!

.    The Lord set up laws putting limits on slavery, every seven years He sets them free. 

.    Deuteronomy 15:1-2 proclaims, "At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts.  ?This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD's time for canceling debts has been proclaimed."

.    According to Deuteronomy 31:10, the time for canceling debts was to be Tabernacles, ?the season of our joy!

.    In this spirit, Yeshua urged his followers to lend without necessarily expecting repayment, ?for when Messiah comes, all debts will be cancelled and both borrower and lender will rejoice!

.    Because our ancient forefathers in Israel did not follow Hashem's laws, poverty increased.

.    Torah's gracious provision for cancelling debts is the biblical basis for modern bankruptcy laws.

.    Cancellation of debt as a last resort is not a sin; it is God's commandment.  Cancelling debt not only gives people another chance; it increases the prosperity of society as a whole.

.    But it is better not to fall into the slavery of debt in the first place. V'eemru?

.    However, the Torah also teaches, "there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you."

.     "I'm under the spout where the glory comes out, where there's no guilt or shame!"

In two weeks, I will cover five more principles of biblical wisdom: Whatever you earn, spend less. You cannot out-give God.  Invest in friends. Get good advice. Be faithful with tithes & offerings.

I will close with a bonus principle: Yeshua came to set people free from a spirit of poverty.

.    How many of you are struggling to make ends meet, and you've been anxious about it?

.    A spirit of poverty produces anxiety & coveting. Wisdom produces contentment & provision.

.    How many of you have been struggling with debt?  (It's OK to raise your hands!)

.    A spirit of poverty makes debt seem like a burden or bondage; wisdom reveals how to get free.

.    How many of you are running from crisis to crisis rather than honoring God with your finances?

.    A spirit of poverty makes you a slave of your impulses. Wisdom commits plans to the Lord, with godly counsel, and He makes your plans succeed.

      If anyone is struggling with a spirit of poverty, Yeshua came to set you free.

Isaiah 61:1 announces, "The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor."  Yeshua read this verse from the scroll!

.    Messiah Yeshua came in the anointing of this Spirit, proclaiming good news to the poor.

.    The first words of his Sermon in Matthew 5:3 were "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Or in Luke 6:20, simply "Blessed are you who are poor."

.    Yeshua came with the power to defeat the spirit of poverty and He gave this power to us, when we put our trust in what He did for us on the tree.

.    Galatians 3:13-14 says, "Messiah redeemed us from the curse in the Torah by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree."  He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to [us]."

.    The curse of the Torah is upon those who disobey the Torah.

.    But Messiah atoned for all our sins, paid all our debts, and cancelled every curse against us!

Let's pray: "Our Father in heaven, I give you thanks for the blood of Yeshua that redeemed me from all my sins, paid all my debts, and cancelled every curse against me!  I repent of believing any lies or curses spoken about me or my family.  I rebuke the curse and the spirit of poverty, debt, or discontent right now.  By the blood of Yeshua, shed through his crown of thorns and all his wounds, every curse against me is broken and reversed.  I receive the blessing of prosperity and contentment that you intend for me as your child and your servant.  And as you bless me and my house, I will honor you.  I pray in the name of Yeshua our Messiah and King. Amen."?