Caution with Wealth Back to all sermons


Date: December 27, 2020

Speaker: Sean Grossman

Series: Isaiah

Scripture: Isaiah 23:1–23:18

Tags: World, Assurance, Wealth, Provision, Money

Isaiah 23

Caution with Wealth

1 The oracle concerning Tyre.

Wail, O ships of Tarshish,

for Tyre is laid waste, without house or harbor!

From the land of Cyprus

it is revealed to them.

2  Be still, O inhabitants of the coast;

the merchants of Sidon, who cross the sea, have filled you.

3  And on many waters

your revenue was the grain of Shihor,

the harvest of the Nile;

you were the merchant of the nations.

4  Be ashamed, O Sidon, for the sea has spoken,

the stronghold of the sea, saying:

“I have neither labored nor given birth,

I have neither reared young men

nor brought up young women.”

5  When the report comes to Egypt,

they will be in anguish over the report about Tyre.

6  Cross over to Tarshish;

wail, O inhabitants of the coast!

7  Is this your exultant city

whose origin is from days of old,

whose feet carried her

to settle far away?

(Isaiah 23:1-7, ESV)

8  Who has purposed this

against Tyre, the bestower of crowns,

whose merchants were princes,

whose traders were the honored of the earth?

9  The LORD of hosts has purposed it,

to defile the pompous pride of all glory,

to dishonor all the honored of the earth.

10  Cross over your land like the Nile,

O daughter of Tarshish;

there is no restraint anymore.

11  He has stretched out his hand over the sea;

he has shaken the kingdoms;

the LORD has given command concerning Canaan

to destroy its strongholds.

12  And he said:

“You will no more exult,

O oppressed virgin daughter of Sidon;

arise, cross over to Cyprus,

even there you will have no rest.”

13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people that was not; Assyria destined it for wild beasts. They erected their siege towers, they stripped her palaces bare, they made her a ruin.

14  Wail, O ships of Tarshish,

for your stronghold is laid waste.

(Isaiah 23:8-14, ESV)

15 In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute:

16  “Take a harp;

go about the city,

O forgotten prostitute!

Make sweet melody;

sing many songs,

that you may be remembered.”

17 At the end of seventy years, the LORD will visit Tyre, and she will return to her wages and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth. 18 Her merchandise and her wages will be holy to the LORD. It will not be stored or hoarded, but her merchandise will supply abundant food and fine clothing for those who dwell before the LORD.

(Isaiah 23:15-18, ESV)

Main Point

These verses describe what will become with Tyre/the Phoenicians

The sea trade made them wealthy, but wealth will not save them (and hence, won’t save anyone else either)

God will eventually restore Tyre and that which was once unholy will become holy

“When seen in this way, chs. 13-23 seem to be saying that since the glory of the nations (chs 13, 14) equals nothing, and since the scheming of the nations (chs. 14-18) equals nothing, and since the wisdom the wisdom of the nations (chs. 19-20) equals nothing, and since the vsion of this nation (chs. 21-22) equals nothing, and since the wealth of the nations (ch. 23) equals nothing, don’t trust the nations!”

(Oswalt, 427-428)
The New International Commentary of the Old Testament
The Book of Isaiah Chapters 1-39]

Application Points

Caution with Wealth

When it comes to money we can have the wrong attitude about it

Despite America being the most wealthy in the world, yet we have many problems

When it comes to money and wealth it is possible to come to two opposite but equally errant views

The First: Money is the root of all evil

We should give away all our money

This comes from two ideas…

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

(Matthew 6:24, ESV)

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

(I Timothy 6:10, ESV)

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (2)

Clearly there is something about seeking to acquire more which can become our life goal and usurp our true purpose which is to glorify God

It is capable of doing this through distraction

The warning is necessary

It is easy for us to trust in money for our assurance and security

It occurred with Tyre and many in the ancient world and so it can happen with us

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (3)

The Rich Young Ruler was an individual who had wealth

If wealth is causing us to stumble, it is better to cut it out than sin

This is not something mandatory or necessary

We need to exercise the greatest of wisdom

If they cause us to stumble, it is better to rid ourselves of the weakness and place our faith, hope, and trust in God

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (4)

Still we don’t want to go too far

It can be easy to say, “If money can cause so much damage, and if wealth can be so disastrous for our souls, it would be better to not have any!”

This is not at all what the Scriptures are saying

On the other hand there are those who believe they can attain incredible wealth and have no real responsibility with their wealth

This is the second errant understanding

This view is also one which can be seen in many Christians

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (5)

It ignores God’s grace, design, and purpose

You are where you are because God has ordained it to be

It isn’t you are more deserving as it’s where God has placed you in history

Such an understanding is like a child receiving a gift

Imagine you gave a child a gift and then they smashed it

If you have been given wealth, it is by God’s grace and He expects you to be a good steward of what He has given

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (6)

We have two positions which go too far

Wealth, trade, the ways of economics, are not intrinsically good or evil…they are morally neutral

We are the moral agents

The world continues to grab hold of things for their assurance and in doing so turns those things into worthless idols

If these things are utilized for good then there is nothing bad about them

If Tyre represents the wealth of the world then even trade and wealth will be redeemed by God

We are able to join the redemption process by being good stewards of our wealth

   “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the fist fruit of your produce then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”
(Proverbs 3:9-10, ESV)

   “Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.”
(Proverbs 13:7)

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous.”
(Proverbs 13:22)

   The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the folly of fools brings folly.”
(Proverbs 14:24)

   “Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.”
Proverbs 22:16)

   “A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.”
Proverbs 28:22)

   “He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.”
Proverbs 29:3)

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (7)

We find further how wealth is not evil in and of itself

How we gain wealth and utilize it matters

We are not to be greedy, selfish, or seeking it as our security

Instead, we should seek to be good stewards

An individual I knew was retired and God had provided much for him

His Church was doing a project, and the man felt compelled to give a specific amount

He talked it over with his wife, and she felt the exact same and had the same amount in her mind

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (8)

This reminds me of Barnabas in Acts who sold a field he owned and gave the money to the apostles (see Acts 4:36-37, ESV)

In the end it’s where God leads us

Some give away all their wealth to keep them from succumbing to sinfulness, other’s may not have any such temptation when it comes to wealth

Others may give simply because they feel led to

Application Points

Caution with Wealth (9)

These are just some examples of the way those who have been given much can help others

We have to be cautious with the gifts given

We need to remember to exercise our personal responsibility with what God has given

Wealth is a blessing, let us not abuse it!

Let us not seek to acquire wealth unethically

Let us not seek to be greedy

Let us not utilize our wealth improperly

Let us not seek wealth as our assurance

Instead, let us remember our God is greater than all the wealth of the world, and He gives Himself to us

Application Points

The Gospel of Christ