The Wealth of the Wicked

Excerpt from the book:

The Wealth of the Wicked

By Don Enevoldsen

What is the Prosperity Message? At first glance, that may seem like a silly question. It is the message that God wants people to experience prosperity, isn’t it? Unfortunately, as we apply the inevitable nuances to that statement, the issue becomes progressively unclear.

Does it mean that God wants everyone to be prosperous? Most proponents of the Prosperity Message immediately answer, “Yes.” But then they begin to clarify, just to make sure we don’t walk away actually believing that God wants “everyone” to be rich.

“The Bible says that the wealth of the wicked is laid up for the just.”

So it isn’t really everyone who should prosper, only God’s people.

Who, then, are the wicked? It would seem that we should seek them out so that we can get their money. It is a biblical injunction, is it not? Love your enemies and do good to those who persecute you—and make sure you get their money.

Fortunately, we can look at the verse in question and figure out who the wicked are. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really clear up the question.

A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children,

     but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

(Proverbs 13:22)

This verse may illustrate as well as anything the one inherent problem that seems to follow the Prosperity Message around. There is a lot of greed and self-centeredness attached to it.

Notice that it is the “sinner” whose wealth is stored up (it is “sinner” in twenty-five different translations that I checked), yet common usage has turned it into the “wicked.” I’ve heard this verse quoted thousands of times in the past two decades, and I can’t remember ever hearing “sinner.”

Perhaps you could make a case that they are the same thing. However, as I compare the two words, “wicked” has more of a “them vs. us” feel to it. We are all sinners, but “they” are the wicked. “We” are righteous. Let’s put “them” in their place—and get their money. What does that really say about us? Proverbs has another definition of who the wicked are that looks a little like an indictment of those who desire the wealth of the wicked.

The wicked desire the plunder of evil men.

(Proverbs 12:12)

Does that mean that the wicked are those who desire the wealth of the wicked? Does the desire itself define wickedness? Or at least point us in the right direction?

It seems to me that the idea of taking the wealth of the world away from non-believers so that we can be rich is dreadfully far away from the idea of loving others as we love ourselves. If that is really a part of what God intended the Prosperity Message to be, then it seems incompatible with the Great Commission. In reality, God so loved that he gave. Our desire to take from those to whom he gave is more an indication of greed than it is of godly blessing.

[Excerpt from The Wealth of the Wicked, Chapter 1. Available now at Amazon.]

The Wealth of the Wicked

13 thoughts on “The Wealth of the Wicked

  • September 21, 2018 at 5:00 am
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    Thank you for posting this truth. The prosperity lie has many deceived. They continue to give and give waiting …………that one day their number will come up. I pray that people will be made free from this deception. For Solomon tells us in Eccl. 2:26 this is VANITY and STRIVING after the wind and feeding on it.

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    • March 10, 2019 at 4:18 pm
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      Thank you for posting this. I just preached this in a sermon today. I felt like swimming up stream. But that is what happen when you speak truth.

      Reply
  • December 3, 2019 at 11:43 pm
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    I’ve always wondered what that scripture, and now I know. Thank you for clarifying this for me. I had to learn the hard way that the prosperity message was wrong, and spent so much wasted time, energy and money wondering why I was never getting the wealth.

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  • March 20, 2020 at 5:43 am
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    Thank you for posting this what a good understanding. I also years back was caught up in this prosperity message. So grateful that I have learned that it all belongs to God and he can choose to do with it whatever he chooses to do. Our love for him should be shown by giving and not taking.

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  • March 20, 2020 at 5:52 am
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    What a good message. I too was caught up in the prosperity message years ago. I learned that everything belongs to God and that our prosperity is in Him and Him alone, or at least it should be. I am grateful for His love and his patience and His kindness . He is so rich in Mercy… I am more in love with Him as we all should be. Let’s all continue to walk in His love so that we can give as he shows us for he said that he only did what He saw his Father do. So let it be the Father living in us as it was& is the Father living in Jesus

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    • March 21, 2020 at 10:22 pm
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      Hey Theresa, thanks for the comment. Glad to say I’ve been free of the deception for quite a few years now and doing better than I ever did before. Great to hear you’re doing well, too.

      Reply
  • April 4, 2020 at 6:19 pm
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    I am looking for clarity. I really want this scripture explained to me in search of truth. sorry but can someone even break it down even more about what this scripture exactly mean. twilson03@yahoo.com

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    • April 5, 2020 at 2:38 pm
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      I’m assuming here that you specifically mean Proverbs 13:22. It is an odd verse, but, as is often done in Hebrew poetry, it compares or contrasts thoughts in a form of parallelism. Which just means that the two lines are linked together. In this case, it’s a form called antithetical parallelism, which just means that the second line is a negative statement that contrasts with the positive statement in the first line. I don’t think it’s really any more complicated than saying that a good man can be identified by the way he provides for his children, while a wicked man squanders his wealth in a way that it ends up in the hands of someone else instead of his family.

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    • May 1, 2020 at 11:57 am
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      So In Other Words, “The Wealth of The Wicked Is Laid Up For The Righteous”.

      Can This Be In Thoughts of How The Wicked Ones Operating In The White House are Doing?. They Store Up Wealth For Themselves, but….
      God Is Allowing The Wealth of The Wicked, Be Released To His People Whom Are Righteous.

      When Seeing All That’s Going On In The White House/Federal Government, It Leads My Mind and Thoughts To This Scripture..Proverbs 13:22

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      • June 30, 2020 at 1:15 pm
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        Rebecca, I’m not clear what you’re trying to say here. I assume you are making a political statement, and it sounds like it is directed against the president, though I could be wrong about that. Either way, it makes some assumptions unwarranted by the facts, and does not have any bearing on how Proverbs 13:22 should be read. That verse is focused on the manner in which a righteous man provides for his family, not in political policy.

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  • April 5, 2020 at 11:37 am
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    To me it has always meant that God keeps a ram in the bush for his children and that what he intends for me or any of his children to have to bless others he would even get it from or have non-believers be a vessel that God uses to bless his children to be a blessing…3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that you may PROSPER IN ALL THINGS and be in health, just as your soul prospers. Wether people like prosperity messages or not, God said prosper in all (including finances) so we can not discount what he said. I am so grateful that he allows me to prosper so I can help and support others to prosper. Money is necessary to help and it helps to answer all things in Jesus Name! Amen!

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    • April 5, 2020 at 2:26 pm
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      Deayna, that’s an interesting take on the passage. I don’t think I’ve considered it quite that way. I’m going to think on that a little.

      Reply
    • May 5, 2020 at 9:44 am
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      I love this thought !!!!

      Reply

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