Competing “Voices”…Part 1
As I mentioned before, Proverbs contains many, many contrasts. In verse 10 through the end of chapter 1, there is a contrast between the voice of sinners and the voice of wisdom. Let’s read what Solomon writes about the voice of sinners: 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; 13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; 14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; 16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. 17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.
The voice of sinners calls out to entice each of us. Sometimes, the voice is a little bit more subtle than we read here, but sometimes it is not. Notice that sin always promises something for us. Though the sin being propositioned here involves murder, the benefit is found in verse 13. The enticing part of sin here is the spoil, the precious possessions that can be gained. Almost all sin in our lives enters our lives because we see a benefit for us somehow. People get angry because it makes them feel good. People steal because they want the money. People don’t forgive because it makes them feel better to hang onto the grudge. But sin always promises more than it can deliver. Verses 16 and following remind us of that. Those engaged in repeated sin are running to evil. They “lurk secretly for their own lives”. What an interesting phrase. It reminds me of Wile E. Coyote, who always seems to get hurt when he is trying to trap the Roadrunner. Those who seek the destruction of others are in reality destroying themselves, and they don’t even know it!
The final exhortation is given in verse 19. Greed actually takes away the life of its owners. People are greedy because they seek to add something to enhance or enrich their lives…however, being greedy for gain actually diminishes life. Greed leads to “subtraction by addition”. Let’s not listen to the voice of sinners. They promise something that they cannot deliver. Tune in tomorrow for the voice of wisdom....not my voice but God’s word!