Bible Society of South Africa

Rewards for the humble - 21 September 2023

By Ben Fourie

Bible text(s)

4Obey the LORD, be humble, and you will get riches, honour, and a long life.

Proverbs 22:4GNBOpen in Bible reader

Yesterday, we said it is better to be humble before God than to try to win too much praise. In our modern world, to many people, this is an idea that has become obsolete. People yearn for the best things in life and cannot be bothered about how it is acquired. Recently, I saw in a newspaper article that, on average, the salary of a CEO of the bigger companies in South Africa is 200 times that of their employees.

In the US, the ratio is even worse. Some CEOs earn 278 times more than the workers. Sports and film stars earn astronomical amounts of money. Many politicians, worldwide, want the position, not to serve their country, but to accumulate as much power and money as possible. In contrast to this, there are millions who are hungry most of the time. Even at grassroots level, there are huge discrepancies. For example, how much more do I earn than my domestic worker or gardener?

What does the Bible promise to those who still want to live in humble obedience to the Lord? One can almost not believe your eyes when you read that the first promise is riches. Can it really be? The Old Testament gives us some clues of what this means, but for a full understanding, we have to turn to the New Testament. Paul said in Ephesians 1:7 (NIV): “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” Our real riches are that by the grace of God, we are redeemed. No riches can be worth more than this.

The above is more than enough reward, but the proverb also promises us honour and a long life. Let us turn to the New Testament again. When the disciples asked Jesus about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus let a child stand in front of them and said: “The greatest in the Kingdom of heaven is the one who humbles himself and becomes like this child” (Matthew 18:4). Everyone who lives before God in humbleness and obedience, becomes a child of God. We cannot wish for more honour and a better life than to be children of the living God.

Prayer: Father, thank you for rewarding us with riches and honour far above what we deserve. Amen

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