“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (Prov 9:17)
When I was in the 3rd grade, I came to the realization that theft was not a career option. I was grocery shopping with my mother in the town we lived – Pryor, OK – when she sent me to another aisle to retrieve a few items. While I was meandering to that aisle, I walked down the candy section.
For reasons I cannot explain, there was a candy bar that looked too good to pass by. I knew my mother wouldn’t buy it for me and because I had no money, the only option in my little depraved mind at that point was to steal it. So, I broke the 8th Commandment. I placed the candy bar into my pocket carefully and quietly, made it home without anyone knowing, and then proceeded to eat it in the privacy of my room.
Some days later, my mom was washing our clothes and found a certain candy wrapper in one of my pockets that she knew was probably consumed without her permission. So, she asked me if I had recently stolen or eaten a candy bar without her permission. I, of course, pretended to not know what she was talking about – breaking the 9th Commandment. Then, she showed me the wadded-up candy wrapper. I was caught, and discipline followed.
I have often thought about why I stole that candy bar in the first place. It wasn’t like I was stealing $1,000,000 or something. It was a candy bar that probably cost 50-cents.
After reading the above referenced proverb, the answer became clear: I stole that candy bar because it was a risky and dangerous move. I stole it because I knew it was wrong and thought I could get away with it. And if I had got away with it, I can only imagine how that might have fueled my ego and thirst for greater stolen goods.
One of Satan’s oldest tricks in his book is to convince us that those things that are forbidden are sweeter than the things we are permitted. Just ask Eve about that forbidden apple if it was worth it. Or ask the man who had an affair and lost his family if that forbidden act was worth it.
Sin is never worth it. Risking God’s provisions for one taste of sweet water is never worth it. Taking a piece of bread that is forbidden is never worth it.
The alternative is to be delighted in God and what He gives us. It is to find our hunger and thirst quenched in knowing Him (Matthew 5:6).
May we never be content with dribbling at the promised pleasure of the world but rejoice in God’s gracious gifts that allow us to see His faithfulness and goodness to us.