Consider this statement: “Greedy people get got.” I’ll explain this in a moment.
Welcome to our “Get Wisdom” series! We’re doing this to go through the book of Proverbs, and to dig for all the bits of wisdom and knowledge we can find as we do so. I’m so glad you’re joining us, and I hope this is as helpful for you as it is for me.
Our verse for today is Proverbs 1:19. It says, “Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” I think this is really deep. Let’s go back to that statement: “Greedy people get got.” If you’re greedy enough to commit crimes, to steal to get what you want, eventually you’ll “get got,” or you’ll be caught yourself. Our verse today reminds us that crime doesn’t pay. When we go out and get things “unjustly,” things that aren’t for us, there are consequences. It gets us back.
Let’s read some more of Proverbs 1 to put this in context:
10 My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods,
we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse”—
15 my son, do not walk in the way with them;
hold back your foot from their paths,
16 for their feet run to evil,
and they make haste to shed blood.
17 For in vain is a net spread
in the sight of any bird,
18 but these men lie in wait for their own blood;
they set an ambush for their own lives.
19 Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.
I love this. Solomon is giving his son, and us, some really good advice. Don’t be enticed by sinners and people who do wrong things. We need to understand that not everything that looks good is good for us. We might think that we’re gaining through our unjust actions, but there will be a consequence. There always is, even if it’s only in your conscience. If you are involved with these people that are setting traps for other people, you’re setting a trap for yourself.
But our verse broadens this. It’s not just thieves that are going to receive these consequences. ANYONE who is out for unjust gain, for getting something in a wrong way, or an ill-gotten way, is having their life taken away. You will lose every time, if what you’re getting is not being gotten correctly, or if you’re trying to surpass the right way.
It’s hard work, sometimes, to do things the right way. It’s often not attractive. But it’s right. Sometimes I’m tempted to break the rules, even just a little bit, but I always hear my mother’s voice reminding me that I’ll be caught one day. Even if we do something and don’t get caught, we never really get away with it. God knows. And we know.
Let’s read our verse one last time: “Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors,” Proverbs 1:19.
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