“Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.” — Proverbs 1:17-19
God is not against gain, but He is against being greedy of gain. When we honor the Lord with our lives, our finances, and our families, God often adds gain to different areas of our lives:
“The blessing of the Lord maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it” — Proverbs 10:22
There has always been a great appeal in trying to get something for nothing. This makes it very easy to become greedy of gain. The enticement of Proverbs chapter one is powerful because it promises personal gain. They assure in Proverbs 1:13: “We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil.” While gain often accompanies the blessing of God, it can very easily become greed. Consider three pitfalls of someone who allows gain to turn into greed.
Being Greedy Of Gain Blinds Us To Danger
Someone who has become greedy loses the insight that makes them aware of impending danger. Verse 17 of the text describes this hidden trap: “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.” When Lot chose the plain of Sodom, his decision was based on the well-watered abundant land. He didn’t consider the danger that Sodom would bring to his family. Soon he pitched his tent toward Sodom, and before long he was sitting at the gate of the wicked city. We would do well to heed Jesus’ warning about greed as he reflected on this sad story. “Remember Lot’s wife” (Luke 17:32.) As you see the Lord’s return drawing near, don’t cling to the stuff you have. Don’t allow gain to turn to greed, or it will blind you to danger.
Being Greedy Of Gain Bleeds Us To Destruction
A greedy person will find themselves using other people to forward their own personal cause. In verse 11 they are plotting on the innocent: “Come with us, let us lay wait for blood; let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause.” But selfish plans rooted in greed always end up hurting those who formulate them. Notice what the result of their plot was in Proverbs 1:18 “And they lay wait for their OWN blood.” Greed was what motivated wicked Haman to convince King Ahaseurus to kill the Jews, but in the end he was hanged on the gallows he designed for someone else. Why? Because “he that is greedy of gain troubleth his OWN house, but he that hateth gifts shall live”(Proverbs 15:27.) Don’t allow gain to turn to greed or it will make you bleed.
Being Greedy Of Gain Buries Us In Death
Because the love of money is the root of all evil, many who follow after it stray from the path of God for their lives. The root of evil doesn’t stay a root forever, and it soon evil fruit springs from it. Greed manifests itself in different types of evil fruit. For some it may be the enjoyment of expensive toys on days when they should be in the house of God. For others it may be making payments on luxury items to the neglect of giving to the work of the Lord. Greed may even trigger a relapse back into an old lifestyle of addiction for someone who is starting to get their life back together. The end of sin is never anything but death. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death”(James 1:15.) Being greedy of gain leads to all manner of ungodliness, “but godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:6.) For that reason, we should avoid the root of all sin, and ask God to keep our hearts from the love of money. Greed buries us in debt, and it buries us in death.
It is not wrong to have possessions, but it is wrong when possessions have you. Don’t be greedy of gain, but “be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”(Hebrews 13:5.) God, who owns everything, is our provider, and He will be with us always as He promised. As long as we stay close to Him, we will have our needs met by Him. He is a kind and loving Father who delights in caring for the needs of His children.
So: “having food and raiment, let us therewith be content” — I Timothy 6:8