If there is one theme that is repeated throughout this chapter, it’s the importance of looking ahead to the consequences of our actions.
So many people in this world don’t. I was watching part of a sports documentary called “Broke.” On it, you see many of the foolish decisions that famous athletes made that led to their going broke despite the millions of dollars they had made.
One guy spent 7 million dollars on a yacht, two cars, and a mansion. Another guy, spent millions on jewelry. Another guy has been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the 11 children he fathered by 9 different women.
These guys failed to look ahead to the consequences of their actions, and it has cost them dearly. Literally.
The examples in this chapter are different, but the lesson is the same. Not looking ahead can cost you.
When we let pride rule our lives, the pride of who we are, what we have, and what we can do, it will eventually bring us down. (2) The athletes who let the pride of life rule them learned that lesson, and suffered the disgrace of bankruptcy as a result.
Others may be wise financially, but they still let the lusts of their flesh, and the lust of their eyes rule them. And they’ll find out the truth of what Solomon taught.
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (4)
We can’t buy ourselves into heaven. God doesn’t need our money. Only the righteousness that comes from God through faith in Christ can save us. And if we reject it, we will face God’s wrath on the day of judgment.
Many people will also learn that for all the power that they accumulate here on earth, it means nothing in the presence of God if they have not humbled themselves before him. As Solomon said,
When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing. (7)
Other people think that by indulging in their sin, they’ve found true freedom. That those who live the way God has told us to are only binding themselves up. But soon they’ll find that,
The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires. (5-6)
In other words, when we live God’s way, we find a life that works. But by living our own way, we destroy ourselves. We destroy our marriages and relationships. We destroy all that we worked so hard to build up in our lives. And worse, we find ourselves trapped by the evil desires we thought set us free.
Though we may come to see how destructive these things really are, we still can’t stop ourselves. How many people have been destroyed by gambling, drinking, drugs, or by sleeping around? And yet seeing how destructive those habits are, they still can’t stop?
Solomon points out other ways people fail to look ahead.
Some people fail to think about who they are talking to, and as a result, have their secrets spilled. (13).
Others rely solely on their own wisdom, without seeking the wisdom of others, and see their kingdoms crash down on them (14).
A person so sets his sights on money, that he fails to invest his life in people. As a result, he gains no respect nor love, and dies a lonely man. (16)
A woman has great beauty, but has no discretion in how she lives or who she gives her heart to and winds up getting hurt. (22)
A person fails to share in his time of plenty, so when he comes upon hard times, no one comes to his aid. (24).
Still another fails to think how her actions will affect her family, causing her to lose the ones she loves. (29)
If we fail to look ahead, it will cost us eventually. In this life, and in the life to come.
How about you? How are you living your life? Are you looking ahead?