A Proverbial Word / Greed Will Ambush You


Proverbs 1: 10 My child, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
11 If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us wantonly ambush the innocent;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive
and whole, like those who go down to the Pit.
13 We shall find all kinds of costly things;
we shall fill our houses with booty.
14 Throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse’—
15 my child, do not walk in their way,
keep your foot from their paths;
16 for their feet run to evil,
and they hurry to shed blood.
17 For in vain is the net baited
while the bird is looking on;
18 yet they lie in wait—to kill themselves!
and set an ambush—for their own lives!
19 Such is the end of all who are greedy for gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.

There are two points I am going to look at in this proverb. First, as I began to read it took me back to all the lessons on avoiding peer pressure. Second, that the more we get, monetarily or materially, the less we become ourselves.

“My child, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” This is classic good advice. If you wouldn’t do it with me standing there watching, then you know you shouldn’t do it. “If everybody else was jumping off a bridge, would you?” There is a phenomenal pull in the human psyche to go along with people, to fit in. This is all well and good if you only come into contact with people who are doing good things and believe in doing what is right. The problem is, there always seem to be more people who aren’t doing that…and they seem to be having a whole lot of fun! Not only that, but this group seems to want nothing more than to get a pile of other people to do the same. Maybe it is to justify their own actions, or to drown out the sound of their own conscience.

“19 Such is the end of all who are greedy for gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.” At first glance one might think that this is saying all greedy people will die. That doesn’t make sense though, as all people die. It could refer to not gaining eternal life, but this is the Old Testament so that doesn’t really apply. I also don’t think it means that possessions are inherently bad things. It isn’t the possession but the greed for ever more possessions which is the problem. The more we focus on getting more, and newer, and better things, the less like ourselves we become. I certainly know that the more time I spend surfing the net looking for the next cool thing to buy, the less time I choose to use for actual relaxation, for conversations with family and friends, for time in prayer and Bible reflection.

There is a tug-of-war going on inside us all. This proverb puts some extra weight on the side of righteousness.

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