Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 20:17
"Bread obtained by falsehood is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel"
This is the Hebrew word lechem, which means bread or food. It is also a synonym for what you need. Solomon is saying that when we obtain what we need to live by deception, lying, and falsehoods, we do not gain in the long run – we lose.
It is important to realize this. The gravel that we feel in our lives is not because of the thing but because of how we obtained it. There is so much of deception and falsehood that people are constantly unsatisfied with what should fill them up. It does not fill them up because of the deception all over their lives.
This is the Hebrew word sheqer, which means deception, disappointment, falsehood. Did you obtain a position through pretending to be what you aren't? Did you obtain your lifestyle by lying on your tax forms? Did you deceive your friends so that they would be your friends? We need all of these things, but we curse ourselves to a lack of satisfaction with these needed things if we were not truthful and honest in our pursuit of them.
I think of the couples who pretended to be something they were not in order to capture the heart of the other person. Then the reality of the marriage sets in, and they are filled with gravel in terms of enjoying being married to each other. I think of the deception in high school as kids try and act cooler than they are; trying and impressing people with stories that they did not do. They dress better or different than they really are, all to attract others who are also false. It leaves you jaded and cynical. Not because growing up has to be this way. It is the deception that you have woven into your life. Just be yourself. Sure, you enjoy some uncool things. Sure, your parents aren’t the hippest. Sure, you haven't experienced what everybody else has experienced. Be real. Real is so much better.
This is the Hebrew word chatsats, which means gravel. That which was not meant to be eaten; that which is a consequence in our lives. Remember that it is not that we should not have these things we gained by deception; it is how we obtained them that causes them to be unfulfilling. There are some things that we should not obtain, but that is not what Solomon is talking about here. He is saying that marriage, relationship with God, children, career, living, eating, etc., will be unfulfilling if we obtained them or seek to maintain them on the basis of deception.
If you have a life built on deception, you need to look to a way to begin telling the truth. Begin a process in which you will tell the real story. Now I am not talking about having a good attitude and being positive when you don't feel like it. Solomon is talking about lying and deception and obtaining a position or relationship through being deceptive.