Or are the increases in your personal wealth due to dishonest practices? Are you cheating or stealing? Intentionally deceiving others in a business deal? Twisting and manipulating tax laws? Hiding money you earn from your spouse? If so, the Bible has a warning for you. And your mouth is not going to like it.
Solomon writes in Proverbs 20:17, “Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.” He is talking here about dishonest practices that lead to one increasing their wealth. “Bread (possessions) gained by deceit (by trickery, fraud, treachery) is sweet to a man…” In other words, there is an excitement and some satisfaction that comes when we receive something of value in a less than honest way.
We feel we have “beaten the system” or gotten “what we deserve” or received what is “rightfully ours.” I think this highlights an inner sinful desire that we all possess to want to get away with something. And when we do, we are elated. We can’t believe our plan succeeded and that we weren’t caught.
Ever seen a depressed bank robber in a movie 10 or 15 minutes after they have successfully evaded police? No. They are on cloud nine, counting “their” money and sipping champagne on a boat headed to foreign country.
Problem is, as Solomon stated, the excitement of these possessions gained dishonestly is only temporary. We will eventually be faced with tough circumstances and/or the consequences of our dishonest actions. We will not get away with our deceptive tactics forever. And when the law (or God) comes calling, the punishment will be extremely difficult to swallow. The Bible says it will be like rocks in our mouth…hard to chew…not very flavorful…destructive to our health.
Think of these people from the Bible who gained something of value dishonestly (or because they were disobedient to God) and suffered great consequences because of it.
- Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (I’m sure that was some of the best fruit they had ever tasted, but…)
- Jacob. (Deceived/stole his brother’s birthright and had to flee for his life.)
- Joseph’s brothers. (Sold their brother into slavery for 20 shekels of silver and lived with guilt for years.)
- Achan at the Battle of Jericho. (See “All That Glitters is Not Gold”.)
- Judas. (Guilt and shame over the 30 pieces of silver drove him to suicide.)
Do you want to have a sweet taste in your mouth that lasts for along time? Then put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s wage. No shortcuts. No skimming off the top before you give the rest of the money to the business office. No lying, hiding, or deceiving. Hold only to honest, forthright methods of growing your wealth. The rewards will be sweet and easy on the teeth.
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Prior Post: Lend, But Don’t Borrow
Jerry slips Tom something crunchy. Enjoy!