Proverb for the Day 20:17 — Food & Gravel…Choice & Consequences!

Food gained by fraud tastes sweet, but one ends up with a mouth full of gravel.

This wise saying is just a statement of fact about choices and their possible consequences. While food is mentioned, the focus of this verse is deceit.

“Food gained by fraud” or “deceit,” isn’t so much about illegal, but about what’s immoral — like us trying to “get over” on someone else.

This first line ends with a truth about human behavior and emotions — such ill-gotten gain “tastes sweet!” If we consider life and relationships as just a game or contest to win, we may get great satisfaction over beating someone else — whatever the prize.

Such actions were discussed earlier in Proverbs. The immoral foolish woman actually suggested, “Stolen water is sweet, food eaten in secret is delicious!” (9:17).

But, here, just like with her (9:18) — while we may win and beat someone out of something — it “ends up” costing us! What we obtained by fraud ends up as nothing more than “a mouthful of gravel.”

Although God isn’t mentioned in this verse at all, I think we’re to understand He’s the one who’s keeping score. Throughout the Old and New Testaments we’re constantly reminded that we don’t get away with such behaviors.

Yet I’m happy to report there’s something else that is even sweeter. It’s not about getting over on someone else, but about doing something good to help someone else!

We hear it at Helping Up Mission all the time. A person volunteers to help here and, as they’re leaving, we thank them for coming. Their regular response is, “Oh, don’t thank me, I got way more than I gave!”

How SWEET it is!