Day 20: Proverbs 20: 17, 28
Food gained by fraud tastes sweet,
but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.
Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;
through love his throne is made secure.
- There is a sense in which our soul feeds on things that can be obtained by defrauding others.
- Such "food" is pleasing initially.
- The inevitable results however is distressing, disappointing, and turns out to be of no real nutritional value at all.
- The essential things needed for security are being oriented for the benefit of others and keeping your commitments.
The writer of these proverbs points out dramatically how different God's ways are from man's. Man's heart is strongly bent toward defending itself. Being a fraud (presenting ourselves in the best possible light) even if it means "white lies" or insincere speech to try to impress others or get something from them, can seem like the pathway to success.
In relationships this path may seem to promote popularity or earthly gain, but the end result is that the insincere person feels unloved and unknown. "If they really knew me they wouldn't like me."
In the same way, selfishness and deceit will inevitably produce disappointment and judgment in every area of life. Scripture tells us, "be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, he shall also reap."
By contrast, verse 28 tells us that the pathway to security and safety are found by focusing on loving others (the opposite of defrauding others) and being faithful. The king won't find security because of the abilities of a clever Army commander, or the position of his castle on a cliff, or by taxing his subjects as much as possible. Safety and security come from working for the best for others and keeping your word.
Lord, please work in my heart and mind in such a way that I will seek to be vulnerable, honest, generous and trustworthy. Amen
- Jon Sneed