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Scripture Enlightening Scripture – Fear of the Lord and Wisdom

Reading and meditating on Psalm 111, which contains verse 10a:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom

may help with learning more about Proverbs 9:10, which says the same thing, along with Job 28:28. Without acknowledging, praising Him for and obeying the things written there, we will not acquire wisdom.

The fear of the Lord, including reverencing him for his spectacular works and righteous character, is the beginning–being both the foundation, and the principal or chief–of wisdom (Henry Smith–paraphrased).

C.H. Spurgeon, who wrote The Treasury of David, in the introduction to this Psalm, writes:

Many are ignorant of what their Creator has done, and hence they are foolish in heart, and silent as to the praises of God: this evil can only be removed by a remembrance of God’s works, and a diligent study of them; to this, therefore, the psalm is meant to arouse us.

Matthew Henry comments on this verse in Psalms:

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. It is not only reasonable that we should fear God, because his name is reverend and his nature is holy, but it is advantageous to us. It is wisdom; it will direct us to speak and act as becomes us, in a consistency with ourselves, and for our own benefit. It is the head of wisdom, that is (as we read it), it is the beginning of wisdom. Men can never begin to be wise till they begin to fear God; all true wisdom takes its rise from true religion, and has its foundation in it. Or, as some understand it, it is the chief wisdom, and the most excellent, the first in dignity. It is the principal wisdom, and the principal of wisdom, to worship God and give honour to him as our Father and Master. Those manage well who always act under the government of his holy fear.

Keil and Delitzsch:

The fear of Jahve, this holy and terrible God, is the beginning of wisdom – the motto of the Chokma in Job (Job 28:28) and Proverbs (Pro 1:7; Pro 9:10), the Books of the Chokma. Psalm 111:10 goes on in this Proverbs-like strain: the fear of God, which manifests itself in obedience, is to those who practise them (the divine precepts, פקודים) שֶׂכֶל טֹּוב (Pro 13:15; Pro 3:4, cf. 2 Chr 30:22), a fine sagacity, praiseworthy discernment – such a (dutiful) one partakes of everlasting praise.

After having heard it all, this is the conclusion: Fear God, and keep his commands, because this applies to everyone.
Ecclesiastes 12:13

The Lord gives wisdom.
From his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Proverbs 2:6

The Fear of the Lord

I felt like compiling a list of verses where “the fear of the Lord” is mentioned. I chose the ESV translation because it had the most instances (26) of the ones I looked at. I used Bibleworks for this and did some Search and Replace to get it formatted to this blog’s usual style.

On most systems you can float your cursor over the reference and click on ‘More’ in the lower left to see the context, which I would highly recommend, although it will be one verse in the NLT. Once you get there you can choose another translation if you wish and then click ‘more’ again to get to the context. It really is quick and easy.

I hope this is somehow of benefit to someone. I liked looking through it.

2 Chronicles 14:14
And they attacked all the cities around Gerar, for the fear of the LORD was upon them. They plundered all the cities, for there was much plunder in them.

2 Chronicles 17:10
And the fear of the LORD fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat.

2 Chronicles 19:7
Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.”

2 Chronicles 19:9
And he charged them: “Thus you shall do in the fear of the LORD, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart:

Job 28:28
And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'”

Psalm 19:9
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.

Psalm 34:11
Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever!

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:29
Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the LORD,

Proverbs 2:5
then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

Proverbs 8:13
The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Proverbs 9:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

Proverbs 10:27
The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.

Proverbs 14:26
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

Proverbs 14:27
The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death.

Proverbs 15:16
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.

Proverbs 15:33
The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 16:6
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Proverbs 23:17
Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.

Isaiah 11:2
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

Isaiah 11:3
And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

Isaiah 33:6
and he will be the stability of your times, abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure.

Acts 9:31
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.

2 Cor. 5:11
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.

Also see:

Quote of the Day: Fear of the Lord

“The fear of the Lord” is closely equivalent to what R. Otto labeled “the idea of the Holy.” Upon encountering the Holy One, one is filled with both fear and trust and gives expression to that awe by submitting to the ethics entailed in the purity of the Holy One. Wisdom consists in transcending the fallen human world and participating in the divine, the holy.

–Bruce Waltke, The Book of Proverbs, pg. 441-442

Proverbs 9:10 HCSB
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs: Fear of the Lord

The fear of the Lord is a mini subject of interest of mine. I’ve always loved this concept. I’ve learned some aspects of it I wasn’t aware of while starting to study Proverbs where fear of the Lord is key (Proverbs 1:7; 9:10).

I think there is some true fear there but it’s not of eternal punishment (1 John 4:18) or any kind of condemnation whatsoever (Romans 8:1). There is fear of displeasing Him as our Father (filial fear) and just plain fear because of how incredibly awesome (in the classic sense) He is. If you were to come into God’s presence I can guarantee you’ll feel fear.

I read the first two quotes below in the introduction to the commentary on Proverbs by Waltke which expresses these things better than I could. I found it at Monergism so I wouldn’t have to type it out and also include a second quote found on the same page.

“fear of the Lord” cannot be understood by studying “fear” and “the Lord” in isolation from each other. The expression is compound. “Fear of the Lord[“] involves both rational and non-rational aspects at the same time.

–Bruce K. Waltke from The Book of Proverbs Volume 1, pg. 100

I suppose this is part of the reason I lament the fact that some translations have changed “fear of the Lord” to something like “reverence and awe” which just doesn’t do it. Even the NLT keeps the term because it’s both a traditional term and it explains the concept clearly which is the objective of the NLT, if I can be so bold as to put words in their mouth. Let the fear of the Lord not be diminished!

On to the quotes at Monergism:

“Fear of the Lord” entails…an emotional response of fear, love and trust. The unified psychological poles of fear and love come prominently to the fore in the surprisingly uniform way Deuteronomy treats “love of the Lord” and “fear of the Lord” (cf. Deut. 5:29 with Deut 6:2, and Deut 6:5 with Josh. 24:14; cf. Josh. 10:12; 10:20; 13:5). In Isaiah 29:13 Israel’s distorted “fear of me” is rejected precisely because it is made up only of rules taught by men. According to Proverbs 2:1-5, “the fear of the Lord” is found through heartfelt prayer and diligent seeking for the sage’s words. In Proverbs 15:33, “humility” and “fear of the Lord” are parallel terms, and in Proverbs 22:4 “humility” is defined as “the fear of the Lord sort.”

–Bruce K. Waltke from The Book of Proverbs Volume 1, pg. 101 (I added book names in places so that the hover feature will show those verses.)

The true fear of God is a child-like fear. Some of the Puritans used to call it a “filial fear.” It is a combination of holy respect and glowing love. To fear God is to have a heart that is sensitive to both His Godness and His graciousness. It means to experience great awe and a deep joy simultaneously when one begins to understand who God really is and what He has done for us.

Therefore the true fear of God is not a fear that makes a person run away and flee from God. It is a fear that drives him to God. Love for God and fear of Him are, therefore, not at all incompatible. To think that they are is to fail to see the richness of the character of the God we worship. It is to ignore the way in which knowing Him in all of His attributes, and responding appropriately to Him, stretches our emotional capacities to their limit. Scripture portrays the fear of the Lord and the love of the Lord as companion emotions.

–P.J. (Flip) Buys from The Fear of God as a Central Part of Reformed Spirituality

And another angle:

“Even the Christian must fear God. But it is another kind of fear. It is a fear rather of what might have been than of what is; it is a fear of what would come were we not in Christ. Without such fear there can be no true love; for love of the Saviour is proportioned to one’s horror of that from which man has been saved. And how strong are the lives that are suffused with such a love!”

–J. Gresham Machen

Machen (1881-1937) was Professor of New Testament, first at Princeton Theological Seminary, and afterwards at Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Published in God Transcendent (1949).
http://www.westminsterconfession.org/introduction-to-the-christian-faith/the-fear-of-god.php

(Inside joke: I get points from Esteban for that one.)

One more in part of a devotional by John Piper:

A Meditation on Psalm 2:11-12

Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

“Serve the Lord with fear…”

This command does not cancel out Psalm 100:2: “Serve the Lord with gladness.” Serving the Lord with fear and serving the Lord with gladness do not contradict each other. The next phrase will make that plain (“rejoice with trembling”). There is real fear and real joy. The reason there is real fear is that there is real danger. Our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). Yes, the elect are safe in Christ. But examine yourself, Paul says, “to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Cor. 13:5). “Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Confidence in Christ is not careless. Our security is rooted in God’s daily keeping, not our past decisions. ” is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory” (Jude 1:24). Part of how he keeps us is by awakening the vigilance to rest daily in Christ and not in ourselves.

Also see:
Quote of the Day: To Fear God (Ecclesiastes)

The Privilege of Fearing the Lord

Recently, when reading Psalm 130, I found verse 4 fascinating.

Lord, if you were to record iniquities,
Lord, who could remain standing?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that you may be feared.
Psalm 130:3-4 ISV

Some translations use revered, honored, or respected. That may be more perspicuous (plainly understood), but I think the word fear is a much broader term. I say this at the risk of betraying what the original Hebrew means. Fear would include respect, honor, and revere, and it also may include a filial (as a son or daughter) fear of offending God our Father.

This means that unbelievers cannot fear the Lord, but when we are forgiven and our eyes are opened to who God is, we are then able to rightly fear, honor, revere, and respect him without being either afraid of eternal punishment, indifferent, or at least not be able to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

Spurgeon says it much better than I ever could:

None fear the Lord like those who have experienced his forgiving love. Gratitude for pardon produces far more fear and reverence of God than all the dread which is inspired by punishment. If the Lord were to execute justice upon all, there would be none left to fear him; if all were under apprehension of his deserved wrath, despair would harden them against fearing him: it is grace which leads the way to a holy regard of God, and a fear of grieving him.

–Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, on v. 4

The point is that God forgives people in order that they might fear, meaning, that they might become his faithful, obedient worshippers.

–Allen Ross, A Commentary on The Psalms

Ross says that the verb form translated as fear only occurs here, which is why I don’t want to make a strong case for using the word fear, although that’s how it has traditionally been translated.

This portion of a Puritan prayer reminds me of this. I’ve emphasized a phrase that’s especially relevant. If you’re reading this on Sunday morning (I know that many of you are), let this be a Lord’s day prayer.

O how desirable, how profitable to the Christian life
is a spirit of holy watchfulness
and godly jealousy over myself,
when my soul is afraid of nothing
except grieving and offending thee,

the blessed God, my Father and friend,
whom I then love and long to please,
rather than be happy in myself!

Knowing, as I do, that this is the pious temper,
worthy of the highest ambition, and closest
pursuit of intelligent creatures
and holy Christians,
may my joy derive from glorifying and
delighting thee.

–Devotion, The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions (emphasis added)

The Fear of God and A Sense of Sin (1:30) from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Also see:
Fear of the Lord posts on this blog

The Fear of God

The fear of God has been one of my favorite subjects. Unfortunately, it’s very misunderstood. This may be partly because it isn’t mentioned much anymore, and many tend to understand the word fear as fright, and only fright. The fear of God is a very multi-faceted doctrine (teaching). It doesn’t just mean awe. There are some translations like the NET which have replaced the word fear with awe, and I think that really flattens out the meaning.

Although I haven’t read a book devoted to this subject, it’s mentioned very often in books, in addition to, of course, the Bible (Genesis 22:12, Deuteronomy 6:1-2, Psalms 2:11, Proverbs 9:10, Isaiah 50:10, Acts 9:31, Revelation 14:6-7, for a good representation). I’ve been learning that the fear of God starts out with the realization of our sin, and realizing what we’ve been saved from. Because believers have been saved from sin, and from God’s wrath, we want to obey God not because we’re afraid of him (1 John 4:18), but because we’ve come to appreciate how good his commands are, and to do what our Father tells us, because he’s spelled out the best way to live our lives (Psalm 119, Romans 12:2).

The dread of you makes my flesh creep;
I stand in awe of your decrees.
Psalm 119:120 REB

I will let my two favorite quotes speak about what it means, and there is a very short video below them if you’d like to watch and listen to it.

Biblical fear is not simply “alarm” or “fright,” nor is it simply “dread”; and even “awe” does not fully capture the fear that is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 9:10). Biblical fear—in its right and mature expression—is a humble and loving response to the character of God. Such fear rightly perceives the awesome and even terrifying power of God, but this perception is tempered with marveling that one so majestic is so concerned for his people.

God is infinite in power but intimate in love. He creates and sustains the universe and yet is present with us. As the earliest of biblical writers said, such knowledge is “too wonderful for me,” and its glorious revelation always takes the blood from our faces and the strength from our knees (Job 42:3). These responses may mirror the human behaviors before a tyrannosaurus, but we would be quite mistaken to say that biblical fear is anything like that fear.

Biblical fear is not merely concern for possible harm. Rather, biblical fear is proper regard for all God discloses about himself in his glory: lordship with love, infinitude with intimacy, an all-powerful hand with a redeeming heart.2 We do not have a single word that adequately translates the term for biblical fear, but we do have a clear example to remove all questions as to its basic meaning. Isaiah prophesies of the coming Messiah, saying that “the fear of the LORD” will “rest on him” and “he will delight in the fear of the LORD” (Isa. 11:2, 3 NIV).

Jesus fears God, and he delights to do so. This means that the relationship of God the Father and God the Son ultimately exemplifies biblical fear. Since we know eternal and infinite love exists between the Father and the Son, we must understand that Christ’s fear cannot simply be terror. Perfect love must drive out that kind of fear (1 John 4:18). Jesus’ intimacy and humility with his heavenly Father reveals that his fear is proper regard for the full spectrum of divine attributes—including his wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, truth, and love.

Bryan Chapell, The Glory of God, page 191–chapter on A Pastoral Theology of the Glory of God

Christian said, “Without a doubt the right fear can be a good thing, for as the Word says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’”1

“How would you describe right fear?” Hopeful inquired.

Christian explained, “True or right fear can be known by three things. First, by what causes it: the right kind of fear is caused by saving conviction of sin. Secondly, a good fear drives the soul to quickly lay hold of Christ for salvation. And thirdly, this fear begins and sustains in the soul a great reverence for God, His Word, and His ways. It keeps the soul tender, making it afraid to turn right or left from His Word and ways. It makes the soul sensitive to anything that might dishonor God, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak against God.”

John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress, Crossway Edition

1 Proverbs 1:7, 9:10; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28

The Fear of God and A Sense of Sin from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Also see:
Saturday à Machen: Joy in the Fear of God | Bouncing into Graceland

Fear God

Quote of the Day: Godly Fear

This is from Crossway’s edition of Pilgrim’s Progress by the Puritan John Bunyan. I recently learned that this is the second most read book other than the Bible.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Christian is the main character, a pilgrim on his way to the Celestial City (heaven), and Hopeful, a younger believer, who became his companion later in the journey. I really like this depiction of godly fear.

Christian said, “Without a doubt the right fear can be a good thing, for as the Word says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.'”1

“How would you describe right fear?” Hopeful inquired.

Christian explained, “True or right fear can be known by three things. First, by what causes it: the right kind of fear is caused by saving conviction of sin. Secondly, a good fear drives the soul to quickly lay hold of Christ for salvation. And thirdly, this fear begins and sustains in the soul a great reverence for God, His Word, and His ways. It keeps the soul tender, making it afraid to turn right or left from His Word and ways. It makes the soul sensitive to anything that might dishonor God, grieve the Spirit, or cause the enemy to speak against God.”

1 Proverbs 1:7, 9:10; Psalm 111:10; Job 28:28

Also see:
What Is Biblical Wisdom?
Fear of the Lord | Posts from Scripture Zealot blog

The Lord Is Gracious, Good and Compassionate

And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
Exodus 33:19 NIV

For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Romans 9:15

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Psalm 147:11

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
Lamentations 3:25

The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
Nahum 1:7

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32

God of Whom We Fear and Have Intimacy

The living God to whom believers have come is indeed the refuge and strength of his people, but their intimacy of their covenant-union is not unmixed with awe before his pure holiness.

–F.F. Bruce, Hebrews, pg 359, commenting on Hebrews 12:23 and mentioning Ruth 2:12

Hebrews 12:22-24 NIV
You have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Ruth 2:12
“May the Lord repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.”

Praise God that he is our holy king, Lord, and master that we fear in awe and that he is our refuge, loving heavenly father, brother, and friend.

The Lord Is Good

Psalm 34:8-14 TNIV
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed are those who take refuge in him.
9 Fear the Lord, you his holy people,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
10 The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
11 Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
12 Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
13 keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from telling lies.
14 Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

Psalm 147:10-11
His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his delight in the power of human legs;
11 the Lord delights in those
who fear him,
who put their hope
in his unfailing love.

Lamentations 3:25
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;

Nahum 1:7
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble;
he cares for those who take refuge in him.

See the context for the second two which isn’t as pleasant sounding as they are by themselves but I think they still stand.

Scripture of the Day: Psalm 112 and Fear

Psalm 112:1, 7 NLT
1 Praise the LORD! How joyful are those who fear the LORD
and delight in obeying his commands.
7 They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.

Quote of the Day: Fearing God

I love the idea of fearing God. Some have a hard time with it and some have never really been introduced to it so I always like to post a good quote when I come across one.

Scripture is full of commands to fear God and it is also full of commands not to be afraid. If we fear God, we need not be afraid of anyone or anything else. But if we don’t fear God, we have reason to be afraid of other things. You fear God when you come to grips with the fact that he is right and you are not, and he is in charge and you are not. “…that he may learn to fear the Lord his God.” (Deut. 17:19)

–Randy Alcorn via Facebook

Quote of the Day: To Fear God

I like this succinct explanation of fearing God in Eaton’s commentary on Ecclesiastes:

The way of safety is to fear God. In the wisdom tradition the ‘fear’ of God is the awe and holy caution that arises from realization of the greatness of God: ‘Splendour… terrible… majesty… power… justice… righteousness… Therefore fear him.’ (Job 37:22-24)

–Michael A. Eaton, Ecclesiastes pp. 122-123

Ecclesiastes 8:12-13
But even though a person sins a hundred times and still lives a long time, I know that those who fear God will be better off. 13 The wicked will not prosper, for they do not fear God. Their days will never grow long like the evening shadows.

and earlier he says:

…in the Lord’s Prayer … the twin truths that God is ‘Father’ but ‘in heaven’ guard against craven fear on the one hand and flippancy on the other.

pg.99

Ecclesiastes 5:7
Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead.

Fear and Trembling

Philippians 2:12 HCSB
So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

2 Corinthians 7:15 HCSB
And his [Titus] affection toward you is even greater as he remembers the obedience of all of you, and how you received him with fear and trembling.

‘Fear and trembling’ refer to ‘the anxiety of a man who knows his limitations to do the will of God, but equally his faith that the Lord is not only Judge but Redeemer and that the grace is able to make even him adequate for his task, provided that he rests in faith on that grace.’

–Beasley-Murray, 2 Corinthians

We’re Wealthier Than Solomon

In some ways, we’re better off than Solomon as far as material things go. Here are some quotes from Philip Graham Ryken in Ecclesiastes: Why Everything Matters.

Like Solomon, we have ample opportunity to indulge many sinful and selfish desires. In fact, maybe Solomon would envy us. Generally speaking, we live in better homes than he did, with better furniture and climate control. We dine at a larger buffet; when we go to the grocery store, we can buy almost anything we want, from anywhere in the world. We listen to a much wider variety of music.

King Solomon

I never thought of this before. What I have thought about is how our wealth can be bad for our spiritual health.

Although God gives wealth, wealth doesn’t automatically equal satisfaction. History shows this, but we so often ignore it.

The LORD sends poverty and wealth;
he humbles and he exalts.
1 Samuel 2:7 NIV

Our possessions can never bring us lasting joy. The gifts that God gives us and the power to enjoy those gifts come separately. This is why having more money can never guarantee that we will find any enjoyment. Without God, we will still be discontent. It is only when we keep him at the center of our existence that we experience real joy in the gifts that God may give. The fear of the Lord is not just the beginning of knowledge; it is also the source of satisfaction.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 1:7 NIV

And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life–this is indeed a gift from God.
Ecclesiastes 5:19 NLT

If we were able to find lasting satisfaction in earthly pleasure, then we would never recognize our need for God. But satisfaction does not come in the pleasures themselves; it comes separately. Satisfaction only comes in God himself, so that our dissatisfaction may teach us to turn to him.

This is one of the main reasons why Ecclesiastes is in the Bible. It is here to convince us not to love the world or live for its pleasures. This message is not intended to discourage us or to make us any more depressed than we already are, but to drive us back to God. This is not all there is. There is also a God in Heaven, who has sent his Son to be our Savior. That Son resisted the pleasures of this life to fulfill the purposes of God for our salvation.

Also see:
1 Timothy 6:17 and the "Rich" | Scripture Zealot blog

Image is from: Free Bible images: King Solomon builds the temple that King David had planned. (I Kings 5 – 9, II Chronicles 2 – 7). I know it’s corny, but images in posts are supposed to give the viewer a better experience. There also isn’t a blank space in the posts on Twitter and Facebook.