“A greedy man brings trouble to his family, but he who hates bribes will live. Proverbs 15:27
I can imagine what immediately comes to mind when the key idea in this proverb appears to be the element of “money. Greed always seems to be most associated in our mind with money, and the word “bribes does as well. Certainly, the Bible tells us that money, or mammon, is the root of all evil, and our observation of human nature down through the ages shouts out this fact loud and clear. However, carefully consider the word “greedy and the things that bring trouble to families, those things that disrupt, tear apart, and destroy the most important single unit of society, the family. When the elements that get almost all people into trouble throughout history are commonly summarized, we speak of three things: sex, alcohol, and money. This proverb appears to only address one of the three, money. However, the nature of greed truly speaks to all three. Greed is a desire for more, no matter how much you may have. It is a characteristic of insatiableness. In other words, there is never enough to satisfy. Wise King Solomon said, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. (Ecclesiastes 5:10) It is both comical and tragic to see the wealthiest men (mega-billionaires) in the world battle it out to be ranked number 1 each year. But that trait flows right down the hill through most of the society. You can even find it among the poorest tribes on the face of the earth.
You can substitute sex and alcohol for money in Solomon’s words and the truth is still powerfully relevant. You can’t get enough to satisfy! Or, you cannot come by satisfaction legitimately, so any means will do. This is where the second half of the proverb comes in; “bribes has to do with illegitimacy and corruption. Sex is easily translated into the physical appetites of the body, which can include any number of things, even gluttony; appetites which are natural, but the “satisfaction of which go beyond the limits of God’s good law and command for those He truly loves. Alcohol is representative of any substance abused in your mind and body on which you can “get high, lose control and righteous inhibitions, and feed insatiable addictions which destroy you and others. Money is money, and the more you have, the more things you want, the more influence you wield over others, the more power you command, which, if you are so blessed by God legitimately, can be used as a great blessing to God’s kingdom work when you recognize whose money it really is; but also can and often be abused to your own family’s destruction. Making more and more money requires more of your time away from God directed responsibilities like spouse and children and ministry to others. You have multiple genuine responsibilities to balance with God’s scale.
There are those modern pundits and philosophers who argue that greed is the engine that drives capitalism. Funny, easy observation exposes the truth that it also drives socialism, fascism, communism, and every “ism on the globe. “Occupy Wall Street is driven by greed even as it denounces the greed of others. Greed is a predominant sin of fallen human nature. And God condemns it! Here in out text it is pointed out that this is the sin that brings trouble to every family. Some form of greed is at the heart of every family’s problems. All familial troubles can be traced back to greed. Greed is synonymous with selfishness. The proverb’s offered solution is to hate bribes. The one or the family who hates bribes will live! What is this all about?
“Bribes are using any illegitimate means to satisfy your greed or selfishness. God sets forth what is legitimate to meet any of our needs in His Word. He made you and knows what you need. Seeking to get what we want in any manner which does not follow his commands and directions ALWAYS leads to trouble, heartache, and your eventual destruction. Many wish this were not so. Many simply hate God for His even suggesting it. Many either ignore or curse God that He gets to set the ground rules. None of this critical, cynical behavior or attitude ever changes anything one iota. It is wasted venom. God still rules the world He made, and He still allows man to “freely act out his sinful, ruinous nature. But He also provides a way of escape from this ruinous track for listening ears!
The only way to avoid the treacherous path of greed is this One who calls Himself, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) Families are really in trouble! We live and work with the results of troubled families every day at the Paul Anderson Youth Home. The nation and the world suffer under the mega-burden of troubled families in every economic and racial strata of society. No part of the human community is immune from greed or the trouble it produces. Your answer and the world’s answer lies in only one place: Jesus Christ. Recognize your greed, specify it, get it clear in your mind and heart, and take it to Him. The one who turns his life over to Christ with no strings attached is the one who sees real life come to fruition.
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