Proverbs – God’s practical guide to a joyful life
Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well.
Today’s topic is one that many of us may say doesn’t apply to our lives, but upon closer look can find that it is a topic that we have found to be true by our experience… it’s the topic of seeking after ill-gotten gain. Let’s top up our coffee’s and see what Solomon has to say…
My son, if sinful men entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for innocent blood, let’s ambush some harmless soul; let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder;cast lots with us; we will all share the loot”— my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into evil, they are swift to shed blood. How useless to spread a net where every bird can see it! These men lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush only themselves! Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the life of those who get it.
“Of course I would never be so deceptive or harmful. I could never fill my house with plunder of someone else. I would never lie in wait to shed someone’s blood. This passage is certainly not talking about me.” …or is it?
So often we can read passages like this and think this refers to the big crimes. This is the passage that those individuals should have read before getting caught up in that robbery or murder or really big ‘no-no’. However, have you ever been tempted, or someone you know devised a little plan, to take a few items from the office, or that really nice glass with the restaurant’s name etched in it or perhaps a couple friends start making fun quietly as a passerby goes by because they have a limp or just simply look different in some way, and you join in the joking, the bullying.
It is so easy to get caught up in the moment and the seemingly harmless silliness or the quiet desire of greed. I know. I’ve been there. It’s so easy to follow along and it really isn’t meant as something extravagantly evil. In any case, it is a path of ill-gotten gain. It negatively affects the victim from whom we’ve gained, and it will negatively, should negatively, affect our life.
However, it’s these thoughts of innocent, fun loving play, or self-gratification that the devious individuals, that satan, or that our sinful selves would have us believe. It’s the lie used to draw us into the lie of a better life and self-fulfillment when in reality it draws us to disgrace, regret, self-loathing, and death. It is in these things and the temptations of these people, satan and our sinful-self that Solomon is warning us against. He is warning us to stand strong against them and to walk away and to have nothing to do with them. For although in our minds they will seemingly give us all this wonderful glory and possession, in reality they are a life-sucking burden of guilt and regret. Do not be fooled.
So let us keep our eyes on the path that Christ has for us. To know the truths of what lay behind these seemingly gloriously harmless, but empty facades. Repent of those times you have given in, for our gracious Lord will forgive and renew you. Then, with his help, do not sway by such temptations to take another path, but stay focused on his path ahead. Enjoy your days with those who would encourage you in your faith walk and guide you when you feel tempted to stray, and in the same way you should encourage them. Be wise, live wise!
Prayer: Dear Lord, there are so many sinful desires that would draw us into attaining ill-gotten gain. Forgive me all those times that I have given in to such desires and help me to overcome my selfish greed by keeping my eyes on you and seeking your help when I am tempted next- and I know there will be a next time this side of heaven. Help me to be discerning and wise in all my decisions and interactions. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!