Trust is an inevitable human endeavor. We all trust something. Even when we say we are putting our trust “in ourselves”, what we are really saying is we trust in the things we believe are best for us. But we all know, even if it is only subconsciously, that we need things external to us to be truly fulfilled. Where we believe this “best” comes from is where we will place our trust.
Wealth is one of the most popular places to place our trust. It can buy us physical comfort, forms of entertainment, and recognition from others. So we trust it as a source of fulfillment.
Proverbs 11 is saying these are the wrong arteries for our trust. When we are contemplating trust, we too often take the temporal, immediate gratification view. This is short-sighted, quite literally.
Wealth is only valuable if it aids us on the path of righteousness. It is valuable as a resource, not as an object of trust. Wealth, in this verse, represents a path wherein we place our trust in anything other than Christ. And righteousness here represents the result of placing our trust in God.
The “day of wrath” is often referred to as the day of judgment. When each of our lives will be examined. And the judgment will be centered around one question: what did you trust?
How absurd if our answer, in that context, is wealth or human power. Instead, our hope should be in God. Righteousness – the pursuit of personal character, truth and social harmony – is the path to life. It is the byproduct of trusting God. And the only place worthy of our hope.