The Wise Man on Schemes, Scams, and Early Death


Wisdom for the Ages: Avoid Ill-Gotten Gain. Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Thursday, March 22, 2018

Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 03.22.2018” on Spreaker.

“Ill-gotten gains do not profit anyone, but righteousness rescues from death.” (Proverbs 10:2, HCSB).

A Scammer’s Playing Field

You would think that any gain, by virtue of definition, would be profitable. I suppose that is why scammers scam, thieves steal, liars lie, and criminals, well, you know. Ill-gotten gain seduces more than the common street-level robber. This issue reaches the highest echelons of society, corporate America (and other countries in the world), and government. Unfortunately, profitability–at any cost–often drives capitalism. It’s not that capitalism, in its purest sense, is the culprit responsible for such slackness; it’s just that it sometimes provides the environment to aid and abet this criminality.

The route to prosperity and long lasting increase finds its roots in honesty , hard work, dedication, and giving more than one takes. The liberal person or entity gains more that they lose.

Link Between the Scammer and Death

Notice the contrast in the text. On one hand, the wise man explores ill-gotten gain. On the other hand, he underscores righteousness as insulation against death. Could it be that gain gotten unlawfully or without integrity stemmed from unrighteousness in the first place, and that leads to death? Could it be that this life pattern is a deadly symptom of a much bigger disease, which if left untreated will lead to eternal death?

Whose righteousness rescues us from death? The Bible says, “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” (Jeremiah 23:6). “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30–31).

“For we too were once foolish, disobedient, misled, enslaved to various passions and desires, spending our lives in evil and envy, hateful and hating one another. But “when the kindness of God our Savior and his love for mankind appeared, he saved us not by works of righteousness that we have done but on the basis of his mercy, through the washing of the new birth and the renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us in full measure through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:3–6, NET).

Going for Forever

The righteousness of God in Jesus Christ rescues us from eternal death. Ill-gotten gain lasts momentarily. When we surrender our all to God and take Christ’s righteousness, we will remain forever in God’s presence.

A word to the foolish is wasteful. A word to the wise is sufficient.

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