There are those who spend their entire lives chasing money and riches. They think that they are receiving good wages for their work and their pursuit. The sad thing that many do not realize until it is too late is that they are living their lives for something that will disappear the moment they die. As Proverbs 11:18 warns us, they are earning deceptive wages. They are placing their hope in something that moth and rust will corrupt, and thieves can break in and steal. If they were wise, they would seek to sow and reap in a way that would bring them a real return for their labor and their efforts.
We read in today's proverb that the wicked earn deceptive wages. It is imperative that we recognize immediately that we are dealing with the wicked here. There are many godly men who are working hard, earning money, and providing for their families whose wages are true and real. But the wicked are those who reject God - who reject His moral compass - and who reject any authority except their own. They do not work to bring glory to God - they work to bring glory to themselves. The wicked play by their own set of rules - and those rules often mock the moral standards that God calls us to follow. They tend to be ruthless in business. They cheat and steal and use what God calls, false scales, that deceive those who buy their wares or use their services.
We are told that the wicked is earning deceptive wages. These men think they are getting rich, but they are actually going in greater and greater debt every day. Their money and wealth is an illusion. Their bank account may look wonderful outwardly - but since money is worthless at the judgment seat of Christ - all that remains is the "way" they got it. That trail is filled with lying, cheating, and the strewn corpses of all those they trampled upon as they clawed and scratched their way to the top. Unfortuantely for them the view from the pinacle of their success is the view of hell. They have received their "reward" on earth in the things of this world and the praise of men. They have not stored up treasures in heaven - and all those they had on earth are gone in that moment. Their money has deceived them - and their wages are now being paid in full as they learn the horrible truth that they shall stand before God miserable, blind, naked, and poor.
The second man revealed to us in this proverb is the righteous. A wonderful picture is painted for us of this man's activities. He is a man who "sows" righteousness. He was not looking for a "quick fix" or a wage that would add to his riches. He knew that the "wages" of sin is death. Therefore he knew he needed to "sow" as unto the Lord. Sowing refers to planting things. Sowing involves taking what you have and letting it die as you place it into the ground. But when you do this, it will grow over time into a plant. You wait and look forward to the time of harvest where you will reap 30, 60, 100 fold what you planted. The righteous man knows that life is a distance run and not a sprint. He knows that every day you need to sow according to God's Word. You sow godly choices and a godly lifestyle that is defined by God's Law - and lived out by Christ's presence and power within. When you do this you plant in such a way as to harvest for God's glory and honor. You do not sow to the flesh and the world. You sow righteousness - and you reap the fruit of the Spirit as God works in and through you. The man who does this received a "true" reward. The word "true" here is the Hebrew word "emet" which means true, faithful - and is frequently connected with the idea of lovingkindness. This is important because the word lovingkindness refers to God's covenant love. This man is wanting the reward that comes from knowing and loving God. He wants the reward that is promised by God in His covenant with us. He is investing in a relationship with God - sowing obedience and submission to Him. That is why he receives exactly what he has sown. It is a true reward. It is a covenant reward. It is a Scriptural reward. It is God's reward to the ones who live for righteousness and - for His glory.