Would You Rather Be Obedient or Wealthy?
I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. (Psalm 119:14 NIV)
At first glance, this verse seems fairly normal for Psalm 119. Much of this chapter is dedicated to extolling the virtues of God’s Word, and this verse is no exception.
Most of us would not quibble with the sentiment of this verse: God’s Word is valuable. Don't we all believe that?
But do you really value obedience to God’s Word as much as you value wealth? Do you rejoice in opportunities to follow God’s Word the same way you would rejoice in great riches?
How would you respond if you won the lottery? How did you respond the last time you had an opportunity to obey Scripture? Were the two responses comparable?
Do you rejoice when you get the opportunity to obey passages like James 1:2-4?
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4 NIV)
Why would anyone choose trials and suffering over wealth? If I am honest with myself, I know that I would rather be rich than in pain. Is that okay? How am I to understand Psalm 119:14?
Quite simply, I think it should look like this: Our response to all circumstances should be the same. We should always rejoice, because we are confident that whether we are becoming rich or whether we are heading into a trial, God is in control.
The situation that is happening to us is far less important than who we are becoming through the situation. Are we becoming anxious, embittered, or apathetic? Or are we learning to rejoice?