Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 1:18
"But they lie in wait for their own blood; they ambush their own lives"
This proverb highlights one of the key ideas of wisdom and life: the choices you make will make or break your life. Sure there are things that happen to you, but largely the life you will live is a result of the choices that you make. Many people, in their shortcuts to get what they want, chose to destroy their own lives.
Think about the person who makes a decision in their teen years to begin stealing to get what they want. Or what about the person who in the teen years decides to get what they want through bullying or violence? Think about how that changes the trajectory of their lives. Think about the people who begin to commit adultery to get what they want; it messes with the rest of their lives. This particular proverb specifically deals with the issues of violence and robbery, but the principle of willful choice lies just beneath the surface. You can mess up your life with a few ill-timed choices.
Notice that Solomon is forcing young people to see that the gain they think they are having is coming out of the potential of their own lives. They lie in wait for their own lives. Only a fool would be selfish enough for the present to destroy the future to have a little trinket or pleasure now. And yet this temptation to gain by violence or any temptation to live beyond the boundaries of the Ten Commandments reaches out and consumes a part of your potential life. It destroys your future. Aesop wrote in his fables about the dog who had the piece of steak in his mouth and while walking over the bridge he saw his reflection in the water. Another dog with a steak in its mouth, he thought, so he snapped at the dog to get its steak and lost the steak in his mouth.
As you are reading this, you are facing temptations to be selfish and to gain or move forward in all kinds of ways. Those ways that require that you break one or more of the Ten Commandments are not wise. They will consume far more than you gain by employing them.
It is fashionable these days for young women to delve into witchcraft and other religions to get power, so they can get what they want. This is a foolish choice. Breaking the first commandment is not wise.
There is a new interest in bowing down to and praying to statues and rocks and pictures to get what you want; again this is not a wise choice. Breaking the second commandment is a foolish choice even if you gain a few things in the process.
Teens often feel tempted to use swear words and curse words to feel more adult. This does not profit you but begins a pattern of not being able to control your tongue. Breaking the third commandment willfully to gain prestige is a fool's choice
More and more people are saying that they don't need church to feel close to God, so they give up the regular assembly of Christians and the habit of church is lost. Jesus Christ is the Sabbath for Christians, and He does not want you to give Him one day in seven but every day. It is not a wise choice to say, "I don't need Jesus for I can handle the stuff this day."
Many young people are tempted to begin a life of rebellion to get what they want. It almost always starts with rebellion from parents; a refusal to honor them but instead to put them down and identify more strongly with friends than parents. This is the fool's profit. A life of rebellion is like riding a picket fence.
Young men learn in their early years that they can gain through anger, violence, intimidation, and physicality. If they choose the path of violence in order to get their own way, then they will ambush their own lives this proverb says.
Young men and women are super-charged sexually and they face the temptation whether they will keep their sexuality reserved for their future mate, or they will use it as a tool or weapon to get what they want. If they imbed sexuality as a means to an end, then they will suffer a myriad of consequences for their short-sightedness.
As stated earlier, young people are tempted to steal to get what they want. Don't cross that line. If you do, then repent.
Everyone is tempted to gain through lying. It is very crucial that you do not build your life on a lie or even a distortion of the truth. The little that you gain by telling a lie will come around to haunt you.
All people are tempted to build a fantasy world in which they have every relationship; gain their enemies’ possessions and take their employees, etc. But if you live too long in the world of coveting others’ things, you will not be making progress on the future you could be building. It is a shame to watch people focus their skills and abilities on trying to take other people's stuff rather than building their own.
This proverb is so powerful. Don't destroy your own life. Make the right choices. Live in the Ten box full of love for God and others. It is a much better life.