“If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse.”
Evil appeals to us by making seductive promises. It offers whatever it thinks will appeal to our passions and appetites. It will promise power, pleasure, popularity, wealth, happiness … but these are false promises that are intended only to deceive.
Therefore, our heavenly Father warns us: “My son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.” (Proverbs 1.15-16)
Our world is full of deceitful promises, and there are people who will lead you on the wrong path. The deceptive messages of the fallen world are many, and each false promise is designed by the enemy to appeal to a particular appetite.
“Buy this and you will be happy.”
“Drink this, smoke this, inject this and you will feel good.”
“Do this and you will have fun.”
“Wear this and you will look good.”
“Follow this path and you will be rich.”
“Pursue this and you will be happy.”
As we have seen this week, scripture warns us agan: Be discerning on the path. Recognize false promises for what they are and reject them. To follow in the ways of deceitful people will result in disaster, and even death.
“For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird, but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” (Proverbs 1.17-19)
Notice again that last verse. “Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” The message is profound: Sin takes away the life of its possessors.
In other words, sin is a thief that steals from you the life that God intends for you. If you allow the impulses of sin to direct you, then you will experience a diminished and distorted life for which God did not create you. Greed is only one of many sin impulses that we must avoid, and it is symbolic of all distorted desires.
Consider the people in business and in athletics who cheat because they are “greedy for unjust gain.” Or the people in politics who purposely mislead voters by making empty campaign promises and promulgate false information in order to gain votes and discredit their opponents. Any time a person acquires something through deceitful methods, they end up possessing a thing that will eventually destroy them. Their victory will be short-lived; their success will be temporary. Eventually—and inevitably—the consequences are devastating.
What do you find appealing in the fallen world? In what ways does the enemy seek to pull you off course? How does the enemy appeal to your appetites? What false promises are you tempted to pursue? How does the world seek to seduce you?
Trust God and develop the discipline of discernment.