“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death” (Prov. 21:5-6, ESV).
These two verses are connected through one theme—the acquisition of wealth. The “diligent” is one who plans well and works hard for it. The word, “hasty” (Heb. us), means, “to hurry, be pressed.” (TWOT) Yet it means more than just hurried actions. It means getting rich without hard work and honest work.
How did we get to that definition? Look at v. 6—“the getting of treasures by a lying tongue.” That means getting rich through dishonesty and fraud. That is getting rich hastily.
You will get rich slowly by honesty. But you will get rich fast and easy by dishonesty. Thus, in this context, to get rich hastily is to get rich through dishonesty.
But it will lead you to poverty or need (Heb. mahsor). Getting rich by dishonesty is like a “fleeting vapor.” The word, “vapor” (Heb. hebel) means, “short-lived.” (TWOT) Sooner than later, your sin will catch up with you. People will no longer trust you for your dishonesty. The wrath of God is upon you.
The word, “vapor,” can also mean, “worthless” or “vain.” (TWOT) Getting rich by dishonesty is emptiness and worthlessness. You will never find fulfillment in it. You may be rich, but you live an empty life!
Prov. 21:6 also tells us that dishonest gain leads to “death.” You may get rich through dishonesty, but something is missing in your life. There is no life in your soul. You exist in spiritual death, so to speak.
But Prov. 10:2 tells us, “Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.” There is death in dishonest riches. But there is life in riches gained by righteousness.
You can get rich by diligent planning. But you can become needy by hasty, dishonest living. Careful planning and decision-making can lead to prosperity. But careless, hasty, and dishonest living brings poverty.
This New Year, make careful plans diligently. Do not act hastily or hurriedly without diligent planning. Do not gain money by dishonesty.
Gain money by righteousness. Then you will live a fulfilled life!