21 Trouble pursues the sinner,
but the righteous are rewarded with good things.
22 A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,
but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
23 An unplowed field produces food for the poor,
but injustice sweeps it away.
The more we run from our sin, the more it follows us – like a shadow it cannot simply be left behind. The only way out of this is to deal with our sin through confession and repentance, which are central to the life of righteousness. Apologize, forgive, make amends – do whatever is necessary to settle the issue – and there will no longer be reason to run from it. Those who bring their sin to the Lord in repentance can say “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
“A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” Sin is bondage, as we discussed above, but it is also futility. The only thing worse than being forgotten is being remembered in infamy – whatever legacy the sinner leaves behind is either quickly forgotten or evoked as a warning. And what of the good things that were gotten through dubious means? If the children inherited foolishness, they will squander whatever else they inherited within a generation – leaving nothing for the “children’s children.”
“An unplowed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away.” This verse tells us that the poor go hungry because of injustice, while elsewhere we are told that “the shiftless go hungry,” This of course is not a contradiction, but an acknowledgement that reality is complex. The belief that all poverty is the consequence of laziness is just as misguided as the claim that all poverty is a result of injustice. It is folly to jump to conclusions and blame the oppressed for their hunger, just as it is folly to feed the lazy. We must discern the cause before rushing to help, lest we only make things worse.