Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death. – Proverbs 10:2
Proverbs 10:2 contrast the blessings of right, godly living with the dissatisfaction of wicked, ungodly living.
3 EXAMPLES OF RIGHTEOUSNESS DELIVERING:
- Noah; “The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation.” – Genesis 7:1
“By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.” – Hebrews 11:7
- Daniel (Daniel 6)
- Three Hebrew Children (Daniel 3)
Crime does not pay! Sin will not succeed! Wickedness cannot profit, no matter how much wealth you temporarily pile up. You cannot buy God off from judgment in this life or the next. Righteousness is the key to a successful life, and it will deliver you from several deaths. Are you committed to righteousness, even if it means earthly poverty?
Wicked men may prosper for a while. Do not envy them. It is an illusion – terrible judgment is coming soon (Proverbs 3:31-32; 23:17-18; Psalm 37:1-3; 73:1-20). Do not copy them. Sin will not work, and you will lose (Proverbs 11:4; Psalm 49:6-14; Luke 12:15-21; James 5:1-3). The rich man fared sumptuously every day, but he could not prolong his life or buy his way into heaven. He could not even buy a drop of water for his tongue (Luke 16:19-21).
Ahab and Jezebel murdered Naboth to steal his vineyard, but the wine it produced could not cheer the heart of a holy God or comfort the sinners He condemned. Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord. This wicked couple appeared to be gaining in real estate holdings by their wicked conspiracy against Naboth, but a chance arrow killed Ahab, and dogs licked his blood from his chariot and ate Jezebel (I Kings 21:1-16; 22:37-38; II Kings 9:30-37).
If you get ahead by wickedness, it is only for a moment. Judas pleasure at thirty pieces of silver did not last long, as his scattered bowels have testified for two millennia (Acts 1:18-19). Achan’s family regretted the day he took of Jericho’s riches (Joshua 7:19-26). Gehazi could not trade his theft for the cure of leprosy (II Kings 5:20-27). Ananias and Sapphira held back some money by deceit, but they did not take any of it with them (Acts 5:1-11).
The King of Assyria, whom God sovereignly used to punish Israel, heaped up treasures of wickedness by his greedy, conquering heart (Isaiah 10:5-14), but the same God tore him and his army to shreds when his usefulness was over (Isaiah 10:15-19). The harlot church of Babylon – Roman Catholicism and Protestant daughters – has taken treasures by wickedness, but Jesus Christ is coming to grind her to powder (Revelation 17:1-6; 18:1-24).
Crime does not pay. Sin will not succeed. Hear God’s word. “A fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare. The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.” – Proverbs 21:6-7. “Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay are those who gain riches by unjust means. When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them, and in the end they will prove to be fools.” – Jeremiah 17:11.
“But righteousness delivereth from death,” Solomon wrote. The righteousness of Jesus Christ will deliver His elect from the second death – eternity in the lake of fire – by the book of life (Revelation 20:11-15; Romans 5:19; II Corinthians 5:21). But it is by personal righteousness you avoid death of your fellowship with God (James 5:19-20; Revelation 3:1), bodily death by chastening (I Corinthians 11:28-34), and lay hold of eternal life (Psalm 15:1-5; I Timothy 6:11-12).
While many do not understand the importance of personal righteousness, it is the certain emphasis of God’s word. The modern invention of a mere decision determining your eternal destiny is heresy. Believing and calling on the name of Jesus Christ are nothing without obedience to His commandments (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; John 5:29; Acts 10:34-35; Philippians 3:8-14; I Timothy 6:17-19; Hebrew 5:9; James 2:14-16; II Peter 1:5-11).
Do you envy the treasures of the wicked? Do you wish for their pleasures, riches, and comforts? The exchange is not nearly worth it. Solomon judged, “Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.” – Proverbs 16:8. And Jesus confirmed it by teaching, “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” – Matthew 16:26.
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