Treasures gained by wickedness don’t profit (Proverbs 10:2)

“Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death” (Proverbs 10:2 ESV).

The most substantial earthly treasures profit nothing (Prov. 23:5; Matt. 6:19). Much more do treasures of wickedness (Jer. 22:13; Amos 3:10-11; Hab. 2:6-9). What was the profit of Naboth’s vineyard to Ahab, when in his “ivory palace” he was withering under the curse of God? (1 Kings 22:4-24, with 1 Kings 22:39). What was the profit of the thirty pieces of silver to Judas? Instead of delivering from death, their intolerable sting plunged him into death eternal (Matt. 27:3-5). What else will be the fruit of covetousness, but shame (2 Kings 5:23-27; Rom. 6:21), disappointment (Jer. 17:11) — ruin? (Prov. 22:6-7; Josh. 7:20-26; Dan. 5:1-6).

“Thou, O man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness” (1 Tim. 6:11). This is “the breastplate” (Eph. 6:14; 1 Thess. 5:8), that covers the vitals in the fearful conflict. This is the pathway to eternal life (Prov. 12:28; Psalm 15; Psalm 24:3-5; Isa. 35:8; Matt. 5:8). This is the deliverance from the string, the terror, the taste of death (Prov. 11:4; John 8:52). We must not flinch from this scriptural statement from fear of legality. [Ed. note: Today we would probably say “legalism” instead of “legality.”] Lay the foundation of acceptance deep and clear upon the righteousness of Christ. But upon this foundation, fear not to raise the superstructure of inherent righteousness. Take up the prayer and confidence of the man of God — “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I trust on thee” (Psalm 25:21).

Source: An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs by Charles Bridges (1847)