Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Is it wrong to desire to be wealthy? It is wrong if wealth is the objective for working. Work is good. Managing your money well so that your assets grow is good. You ought to aim for financial security. You ought to think ahead so as to provide for your retirement and not be a burden to others if possible. You ought to provide for your family.
But wealth itself should not be your object. Why? The reason given here is its transitory nature. Wealth can be lost and, indeed, is likely to be lost if you have single-mindedly worked towards it. It is one thing to become wealthy out of wise, thrifty handling of your money; it is another because you have figured out some get-rich scheme. It is one thing to become wealthy because of a devotion to the product you are producing or the service you are providing; it is another because you are only devoted to stuffing your own pockets. It is one thing to become wealthy because you have treated others fairly; it is another because you used people as means to your advantage.
The lust for wealth skewers our values. And if we are on the outside of the wealthy circle trying to get in, our tendency will be to take unethical means to get inside. Keep in perspective what really matters for happiness. It is not wealth. It is not being with the “in” crowd. It is in doing work that itself is fulfilling. It is in providing properly for your family. It is in honoring the Lord. This is where true, lasting happiness comes that does not fly off.
God is renowned in Judah;
in Israel his name is great.
2 His tent is in Salem,
his dwelling place in Zion.
3 There he broke the flashing arrows,
the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.[b]
4 You are radiant with light,
more majestic than mountains rich with game.
5 The valiant lie plundered,
they sleep their last sleep;
not one of the warriors
can lift his hands.
6 At your rebuke, God of Jacob,
both horse and chariot lie still.
7 It is you alone who are to be feared.
Who can stand before you when you are angry?
8 From heaven you pronounced judgment,
and the land feared and was quiet—
9 when you, God, rose up to judge,
to save all the afflicted of the land.
10 Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise,
and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.[c]
11 Make vows to the Lord your God and fulfill them;
let all the neighboring lands
bring gifts to the One to be feared.
12 He breaks the spirit of rulers;
he is feared by the kings of the earth.