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In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble. Proverbs 15:6

Is there treasure in your house?

What kind of treasure is it?

Not all treasure is good!

Notice the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. There is much treasure in the house of the righteous. There is treasure also in the house of the wicked. That is because he generates revenue or income. The righteous also generates revenue. However, that earthly revenue is not his great treasure. His treasure is heavenly and spiritual in nature. That explains why the righteous finds great joy and peace in his treasure, whereas the wicked finds only trouble.

Pray for wisdom to strive for the great treasure of the righteous.


 

At this point we must understand who are the righteous and who are the wicked.

Let’s begin with the righteous. The basic idea of righteousness in the Bible is conformity to God’s law. Scripture looks at righteousness from two different viewpoints. Sometimes Scripture emphasizes righteousness as a legal concept. Then righteousness is a favorable verdict of God as He stands in judgment of His people. Even though His people are sinners, God declares them righteous on the basis of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. His people come to the knowledge and enjoyment of this favorable verdict through faith. This is the truth of justification by faith alone. Sometimes, however, Scripture emphasizes righteousness as a spiritual, ethical concept. Then righteousness is moral conformity to God’s law. This also characterizes the people of God in Jesus Christ. God uses the same faith that justifies them to transform their lives into that of thankful obedience. They are not able in this life to keep God’s law perfectly, but they do in Christ begin to keep all the commandments of God. This is the reality of sanctification and necessarily follows from justification. In the proverb before us, the emphasis falls on the justified believer who walks righteously in thankful obedience to the law of God.

The righteous are contrasted with the wicked. The basic idea of the term “wicked” is upheaval, agitation. It describes those who cause agitation and upheaval by their blatant disobedience of God’s law. The wicked, therefore, are those who live in unbelief without Jesus Christ. Without the transforming work of Jesus Christ, they live only in sin. In their sin they create upheaval in all of life—in their marriages, families, business, and social life. We will have more to say about that later.


 

In the house of the righteous is much treasure.

The word “treasure” means abundance. It describes prosperity.

The treasure in the house of the righteous is not primarily earthly treasure but heavenly treasure.

The great treasure of the righteous is their righteousness in Jesus Christ and the blessings that flow from it.

To appear righteous in Jesus Christ in God’s courtroom (justification) is a great treasure. Without this gift of grace, the elect of God would perish in their sin. With the gift of righteousness, they find forgiveness for all their sins. They find full reconciliation with God, which brings the blessing of peace with God. They are adopted as God’s children and made heirs of eternal life. What a treasure!

In turn, to be empowered to live righteously in Jesus Christ (sanctification) is also a great treasure. A life of sin is at best an empty life. More often it is a life of misery brought on by sin. But a righteous life lived in Jesus Christ is a full and satisfying life. It is a life of peace and joy found in marriage, in the home life, and in the church. But above all, it is a life lived in the joy of God’s friendship and fellowship.


 

And then there is the revenue of the wicked.

The term “revenue” originally was used to describe the crops that the ground yields. From that developed the idea of profit and gain. Revenue, therefore, speaks of labor that results in profit and gain. It speaks of the farmer who works the field and through his labors harvests a crop. It speaks of the employee who works for wages. It speaks of the businessman whose business produces a profit. The wicked have these revenues because God providentially prospers the work of their hands.

But the righteous also have revenue. It is important to understand the place of earthly possessions in the life of the righteous. Ordinarily, to serve the Lord in righteousness requires food and drink as well as clothing and shelter. And so the righteous labor for earthly revenue in order to provide for their earthly needs. But the poor and the gospel ministry must also be supported financially. And so the righteous also labor with their hands the thing that is good, in order that they may have to give to these kingdom causes. But in all this, earthly revenue is not an end in itself. It is only a necessary means to a higher end of serving the Lord and enjoying the spiritual treasure of righteousness. Because this is the place that earthly treasure has in the life of the righteous, they do not always abound in earthly treasure. Nevertheless, in the house of the righteous is much treasure! And that treasure is primarily the treasure of salvation in Jesus Christ.

The treasure of the wicked, however, is only earthly and material. The wicked neither seek nor do they find the treasures of salvation. All the treasures that they can amass are material in nature. And the wicked often have much earthly treasure. Scripture often speaks of the plenty that the wicked have. And they often have more because of their wickedness. They are not robbed of their earthly treasures as are the righteous through persecution. They often are able to gain wealth by their wickedness and dishonesty, from which the righteous refrain. Nor do the wicked contribute financially to the cause of God’s kingdom. Great is the treasure of the wicked! But it is only earthly treasure!

And, in reality, in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

This means that the wicked find only trouble in the profits they make and the earthly treasures they amass.

This trouble finds its source in their wickedness. We noted earlier that the idea of wickedness emphasizes disruption and upheaval. When the wicked trample underfoot the law of God, all of life is disrupted by one disaster after another. Their sins tear down their marriages and destroy the family unit. Their disregard for God’s holy law leads to the bondage of addiction, disregard for authority, murder, stealing, lying, and much more. These sins bring only trouble, sorrow, and chaos into their lives. But, ultimately, their trampling under of God’s law brings them to the consciousness of God’s unspeakable wrath, from which they cannot escape.

Under the judgment of God these troubles are made worse by the riches that they have accumulated. The more the Lord gives to the wicked, the more resources they have with which to sin. Sin abounds in their prosperity. And so does their trouble.

Not so with the righteous! God’s holy law is good. It is designed to regulate the life of God’s people in their covenant relationship with Him and with each other. In the keeping of this covenant law is great joy. In fact, the more faithful the saints are to God’s law in the grace of Jesus Christ, the more they prosper in the great blessings of the covenant. They prosper in their marriages, in their family life, and in their church life. Above all, they prosper in the enjoyment of God’s covenant fellowship. “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Ps. 119:1).

In the revenues of the wicked is trouble.

Let us be wise and not fools!

Let us seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Let us not labor for the treasure that perishes but for the treasure that endures unto everlasting life. 

And in that treasure the righteous find joy and peace for time and eternity!