At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Ps. 16: 11)
“The crown of the wise is their riches: But the foolishness of fools is folly”Proverbs 14:24
We are all aware of the warnings that Scripture gives, in multiple places, about the dangers of mammon. Rich men and the eye of the needle. The Pharisees loved their money. Solomon was led astray by his great blessings. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Those who want to get rich are frequently drowned in “destruction and perdition.” If we don’t have the practical side of this down yet, we are certainly aware of the teaching. We remember the warnings.
We are less aware of the many places in Scripture where we are taught about the goodness of affluence. It is a sin to forget God, who gives us so many rich gifts, but the sin is in forgetting, not in the getting. “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17).
In this proverb we are flat out told that wealth is one of the contrasting points between the wise man and the fool. The crown of the wise man would be found in his riches. When a wise man is wealthy, as Abraham was, it is not unbecoming. It is a complete incongruity when a fool comes into riches. His proper crown would be his foolishness and folly. It is striking that in this parallel, Solomon has foolishness in place of the crown. The crown of the wise, the foolishness of the fool. The crown of the wise is made up of wealth, and the “crown” of the fool is made up of tin foil. It is his folly.
The practical application is that the wealthy should certainly remember the warnings. This is why we would call a wise man wise . . . he remembers the warnings. And, having remembered them, he can sit comfortably with the blessings given to him by God.