8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor
amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction,
even their prayers are detestable.
10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path
will fall into their own trap,
but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.
As you increase in wealth, it is important to remember that you will leave it all behind some day. What will your legacy be? Those who see wealth as an end in itself will often go to great lengths to accumulate it, yet the fortune they have taken such great pains to amass does not endure their passing. Wealth is, as the wise understand, only a means to an end. And kindness is a worthy end – but what good comes from greed?
“If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” There are two ways to accomplish things in this world, work and prayer. “The kind of causality we exercise by work is, so to speak, divinely guaranteed, and therefore ruthless. By it we are free to do ourselves as much harm as we please. But the kind that we exercise by prayer is not like that; God has left himself a discretionary power.” The Lord has already given us much work to do, and with it the dignity of being agents in the world. How would you respond if someone asked you to do something which they are perfectly capable of doing themselves? Or asked for your advice after ignoring all of your prior advice? “First you must take the steps I’ve already given you,” you might say, “only then can I offer my help.”
“Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.” There are ten commandments, but only one of them warns that “the LORD will not hold him guiltless” who breaks it. It is “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain.” Such a harsh warning is not about the language we use (there are other warnings about that), rather it concerns those who falsely claim to represent God. No one has done more damage to the Lord’s reputation than the leaders of evil done in his name. Beware of such people! They are bound to fall into their own trap, the sooner you abandon them the better.