NASB - 20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up.
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There is both practical and moral wisdom in this proverb. Firstly, the 'wise man' is a steward of resources and stores up good things for the future, while the foolish man consumes before he can save. The wise man always has enough, even in times of crisis - whereas the fool 'never has enough', even in times of plenty. (Prov 13:4) Secondly, the wise man will be blessed by following the commands of God (Psalm 112:1-3, Prov 13:25), whereas the foolish man ignores the commands of God and does harm to his household, not good. (Prov 12:24, I Samuel 25: 2-34). This may be in large part because the fool prefers his mischief and wicked schemes over seeking out advice and wisdom (Prov 10:23, Prov 12:15) The fool will seek to 'get rich quick', even if he has to cut corners or cross ethical boundaries. [This does not mean the wise will always receive blessing and wealth, or that the wicked are always punished in this life - it is practical wisdom speaking to a larger principle (Psalm 92:6-7)] Lastly, the wise man stores up the treasures of the holy spirit and the knowledge of God and the good news of the kingdom of heaven; (Matt 25:3-4, Matt 13:44, Matt 13:52). The foolish man 'gulps his down' (with connotations of 'destroys') - knowledge and the spirit are never going to take a lasting root that endures unto the end. (Rom 1:21-22, Matt 13:3-6) This knowledge is meant to be shared with others, but the fool does not know how to take advantage of it or accumulate it (Prov 10:21, Prov 15:2, Prov 15:7). While there are several types of 'fools' in proverbs, the one of Prov 21:10 is the dullard who hates knowledge and prefers mischief and corruption to understanding. (Prov 1:22, Prov 10:23, Psalm 94:4-11)
The foolish man desire to keep up and accumulate more, pushes them to spend every penny they earn, and they stretch their credit to the limit. But anyone who spends all he has is spending more than he can afford. A wise man puts money aside for when he may have less. God approves of foresight and restraint. God's people need to examine their lifestyle to see whether their spending is God pleasing or merely self pleasing.
In the ancient world, silver and gold, livestock, grain, fine cloth, oil and wine were their precious treasures, which they counted on to meet their needs in the future. These goods were their form of money which they sold or traded for things they needed for life. If drought or pestilence or war came upon them, these treasures would see them through hard times. Our modern equivalent is money in a savings account, investments in a portfolio or equity in a debt free home. The wise man spends less than he earns in order to save up for future needs. But what are these needs: 1) non-recurring expenses such as annual vacation, house or car maintenance, Christmas and birthday gifts, medical expenses, taxes, etc 2) funds for our children to get a college education 3) pension funds to meet our needs for retirement 4) funds to do the Lord's work as he directs us The foolish person spends everything he gets, living paycheck to paycheck. When they need funds for non-recurring or unexpected expenses they whip out the credit card and so begins the spiral into debt. The foolish person allows the culture of our world to create desires for material things, to convert those desires into wants, to convert those wants into false needs and then use credit to buy those material things that will never satisfy. The foolish person: 1) does not believe that God owns everything, 2) does not trust God to meet their needs and 3) is never content with what they have. Learning to spend less than we earn in order to save up for future needs including the Lord's work is learning to Manage Money God's Way. The bible has over 2,300 verses that talk about money and material things including 16 of Jesus's parables. God has a lot to say on this subject and we have a lot to learn. The abundance of money and material things in our society today is one of the greatest holds that our enemy, Satan, has on our lives, whether we are a Christian or not. The spiritual battle to free ourselves is one of the toughest we will ever fight. But the rewards are worth it. When we get to the place where our decisions about money and material things bring us Joy and Peace, we will be in the center of God's will and in the middle of his blessings. When our priority becomes investing our abundance of money into "storing up treasures in heaven" we will experience returns on investment for eternity beyond what we could ask or imagine.
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