PROVERB PRACTICALS Feather Your Nest, Proverbs 10:2, Audio
Proverbs 10:2, Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
When we hear the word "treasure" it is easy for our minds to quickly bring up many pictures.
What does treasure mean to you, what does it mean to me?
As a boy I remember well reading the thriller novel, "Treasure Island", by Robert Lewis Stevenson.
The story is told in the first person by a lad named Jim Hawkins, whose mother kept the Admiral Benbow Inn, and who shared in the adventures from start to finish.
It was the story of a quest for pirateís treasure by characters named Blind Pew, Black Dog, and the most infamous of all pirates the crafty, peg legged, Long John Silver.
Old Long John always emphasized his words by the inclusion of the strange word Arrgh that seemed to be popular among pirates!
So that word "treasure" was early implanted in my mind to indicate something that was material, something that you could see or touch or feel.
Treasure was a part of this world, something to be sought, something of great value, something that men would risk their lives in seeking.
But as is the case in most understandings from a worldly standpoint my understanding was far afield from what Godís word tells me about treasure for true treasure is much more than what this world tells me it is.
Now this word treasure is not only a noun, but it is a verb.
According to Websterís 1828 dictionary in the noun form "treasure" is wealth accumulated; treasure is a great quantity of anything accumulated for future use.
It is something very much valued.
Now in the verb form treasure means to hoard, to collect and reposit, either money or other things for future use; to lay up, as to treasure gold or silver.
One of the commonalties in the noun form and the verb form is that the word treasure is connected with future use.
Jesus had no problem with people having treasure or people treasuring something for he also told us that treasure was for future use.
He cautioned us on its care, and told us to put its care in His hands.
For His care is to be the First National Bank of Jesus Christ for he told us in Matthew 6:19-21 to:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
So location of our treasure is paramount to its security.
Where you keep your treasure determines its endurance.
Treasure is that which you desire to hold onto for future use and our Lord presents us with a way to do that.
His way avoids the loss of treasure upon earth where destruction by moths, and rust, and its taking by thieves take place.
As far as our treasure is concerned the First National Bank of Jesus Christ guarantees its safety like no other bank or repository.
If we desire to keep our treasure Jesus says there is no better place to keep it than that by laying it up in heaven in His care.
Now this instruction reveals to us that that which we commonly call treasure is not the treasure that our Lord calls treasure.
We can easily lay up silver and gold, and money and property into the hands of those who say they can guarantee its safety on earth, but how do we send that gold and silver and money and property to the Bank of Heaven?
How do we make such a deposit?
That is the rub, that is the enigma, that is the puzzle.
Our proverb talks about treasures but it defines a particular kind of treasure.
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
Our proverb calls these treasures of wickedness.
Now the treasure that Jim Hawkins and Long John Silver sought, fit into this kind of treasure for it was treasure which was accumulated by dastardly deeds, the thievery of pirates.
It was treasure that diminished the treasure of others in favor of those who had not labored in its behalf.
It was ill gotten gain.
It was not accumulated by honest labor.
Now Solomon tells us that this kind of treasure will profit nothing and therefore cannot be deposited in the Bank of Heaven.
It has a stink upon it that reveals it as ill gotten.
We can easily see that this kind of treasure is not a lasting treasure but can we also see clearly that any substantial earthly treasure also shares this same fate?
Proverbs 23:5, warns us of such things: Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
So even honestly gotten earthly treasures can profit nothing for future use if you see your future from an eternal perspective which people of faith should do.
Now you may profit from such earthly treasures in your earthly sojourn but treasures that were gained by evil means will bring sorrow to your present life.
We can read of this in Habakkuk. 2:6b,7,9, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! ÖÖ..Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties (plunder) unto them? Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!
God has ordained a day to come where the fruit of unrighteousness shall be taken away for there is to be no profit in the treasure of wickedness.
Did Ahab enjoy Nabothís stolen vineyard?
How did the thirty pieces of silver profit Judas?
Did the ill gotten gains celebrated at the lavish banquet of Babylonís Belshazzar deliver him from the hand writing of doom on the wall.
These treasures were anathema to their holder and resulted in death.
We may say great and lofty amens to this and agree that ill gotten gains will profit little but what about gains gotten through hard and honest labor.
What is their end? Is there any profit at their end?
What becomes of riches gotten in an honest way by honest labor? What of them?
Their end is told of in the ending of this proverb.
But righteousness delivereth from death.
So this is what opens a savings account in the Bank of Heaven.
This is how the treasures that are accumulated on earth can reach the security of heaven.
Now that bank up high does not deal in gold or silver or dollars or property but it deals with treasures that are eternal treasures that can be gained while on earth by being righteous.
So the matter boils down to somehow transferring wealth gained in this life into the next.
We know that the treasures of wickedness cannot be transferred nor can the treasures accumulated by honest hard work be automatically transferred.
But Jesus told us to lay up our treasures in heaven so we know it can be done.
And how is this done? It is done by righteousness.
Now righteousness is purity of heart which moves a person to an exact conformity to truth. It is the love of truth!
It is a conformity of heart and life to Godís divine law.
It includes all we call justice, honesty, and virtue, with holy affections for things true and right.
It is what is called true religion.
And we know that this can only be realized by appropriating the righteousness of another, the man Christ Jesus, for in me and in you dwelleth no good thing.
I can only be righteous by being in Jesus Christ and by being in Jesus Christ my actions can be righteous actions.
And only in this state can I transfer wealth to the Bank of Heaven.
So what is this wealth, what are these treasures?
One thing we know is that Jesus told us to not lay up treasures on earth but to lay up treasures in heaven.
So from this we can conclude that earthly wealth can be the seed plot of heavenly wealth.
He also told us that where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
John Wesley (1703Ė1791) said, When I have any money, I get rid of it as quickly as possible, lest it find a way into my heart.
If our heart, that is our affections, our hopes, our expectations, are given to God then that is where our treasure will be.
And that treasure is incorruptible, undefiled, and does not fade away.
It has a reserved sign on it placed by God and is kept in heavenly vaults by the power of God through faith.
This is the house built upon a rock.
But on the contrary if our affections, our hopes, our expectations are focused on this life then that is where our heart will be.
And it will be a heart of disappointment for all that is valued on earth will decay and fade away.
This is the house that is built upon the sand.
Jesus told us clearly upon what to build our house.
In Matthew 19:21 Jesus said to the young man who wished to know the way to eternal life, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
So our lesson from Christ is not to keep what God has given to us for only our use, but to distribute it to those in need.
Now many in this world give to those in need but that giving will not transfer into the accounts of heaven unless that giving has resulted from following Christ.
That which reaches the Bank of Heaven is given from the body of Christ.
Christís body is Christís minister on earth.
If you are in that body and are obedient to Jesus in distributing to those in need that earthly treasure will transfer to heavenly treasure.
Remember the ground of the rich man which brought forth plentifully.
But the rich man only thought of himself and how he was to amass his great bounty of fruit for his use only.
His last command was to build bigger barns in order for his soul to rest easy in this accumulation of much goods.
But his soul did not rest easy, nor did his barns accompany him to his long sleep for that night:
God said to him Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.
Being rich toward God is to release your hold on that which God has put in your stewardship and in doing so you will send forth treasure in His direction.
Paul told Timothy to include in his preaching this same message of being a hilarious giver of that which God has allowed you to have.
I Timothy 6:17-19, 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; 18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Look at the contrast between what Satanís world system broadcasts and what God broadcasts in His word.
Satanís world has all kinds of financial advice regarding your assets and how to amass them and make them grow so that when you come to the golden years they will indeed be golden.
Satan too says lay up in store for yourself.
But he means lay up earthly treasure.
God says Lay up in store for yourself a good foundation against the time to come, that you may lay hold on eternal life.
Satanís golden years on here on earth, Godís golden years are with him in heaven.
We are not to think the worldís way but Godís way.
Prepare for your true golden years.
Godís word requires faith, Satan only asks you to operate by site.
Satan abhors any faith in God and all that he does is against faith.
His is a world of operating by sight alone so that God has no pleasure, for without faith is it impossible to please God.
Remember the story Jesus told in Luke 16 of the clever steward who had wasted the masterís goods.
The master intended to fire him but before this took place the steward went to all of the masterís debtorís and by wheeling an dealing he made arrangements for them to feather his nest when he was no longer employed.
Now what he did was dishonest and wicked but the master was impressed by his cleverness.
Jesus told us that the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.
He commended them for making arrangements and then he said to those who followed him.
Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
In other words make friends with the money that the Lord gives you as a steward.
This does not mean buying friends but it means to use the money in such a way that the friends that come will be saved and in heaven.
And that upon your failing, which means your death, they will welcome you as the friend who used the Lordís money on their behalf.
In other words use your treasure to feather your heavenly nest.
This passage infers that Godís children are mismanaging the Lordís money and not using it as an eternal investment but are using it up in temporal things.
The steward figured out a way to use his lordís money for his own benefit.
Jesus is saying to his children to do the same with the money they are given to steward.
He is stating the obvious fact that in worldly matters worldly people often show more astuteness or shrewdness than Godís children do in matters affecting their eternal salvation.
Spurgeon said in his exposition of Psalm 2, O that men were half as careful in God's service to serve him wisely, as his enemies are to attack his kingdom craftily. Sinners have their wits about them, and yet saints are dull.