Being a wealthy man is not sin - there are many wealthy men who honor God with their lives and their testimony. The problem often is not wealth itself, but how we deal with wealth - and here - how we get it. We are told by Paul in his letters to Timothy that is it the "love of money" that is the root of evil.
How do you go about gaining your treasures? Here the foolish man goes about gaining his by a lying tongue. He uses deceit to gain his wealth. He lies about his abilities - or about his product in some way - or he uses deceit to lure others into a financial trap whereby he profits from their misfortune. But the Lord instructs us in Proverbs that this way of gaining a fotrune is a "double-loser" in the end. Let's see why.
First, we read that such a plan is a "fleeting vapor." What a descriptive phrase this is. First we have the idea of something fleeting. This refers to something blown or driving away. Psalm 1:4 tells us that the wicked will be blown away like the chaff of the grain. Again in Job 32:13 God uses this word to speak of how He will rout the evil man - blowing Him away like wind blows the dust of the earth effortlessly. The second word is vapor. This word refers to just what it says - a small whisp of water vapor that would vanish almost as soon as it appears. What is speaks of is more interesting. It speaks of vanity, emptiness, and meaninglessness. It is the favorite word of the book of Ecclesiastes - where it is used thirty-five different times to speak of how life is like a breath. Put together, these two words intensify one another. Thus we see that gaining treasure by lying is like pursuing the most momentary of vapors - one that is even more vain and empty than any you've ever seen.
Thus, the first loss is that of a meaningful life here on earth. To chase after wealth by lying and deceit is to make your life worthless. It will have all the value of a breif water blowing away in the wind. Not exactly what most people are searching for in life - is it?
The second loss you experience is much scarier than the first. God tells us that living this way is the pursuit of death. Now there is a phrase you don't hear very often. "Hey, Bob, let's go out later today and pursue some death!" The phrase itself simply means that someone is chasing after or hunting something - here - death. So we learn that we are not only hurting ourselves here and now with a meaningless life, but that we are also harming ourselves for the life to come. That person is hunting after their own death. They're pursing dying. What is sad is that all of those who live this way describe their pursuit and use of money as, "really living." The fact though is that their pursuit of false riches - results in a very real death.
Reading this encourages us to see the pursuit of the wrong kind of treasure as a dangerous thing. It is something deadly - killing those who engage in it. It also helps us, as Proverbs often does, with a picture of what we're doing. While the world sees such activity as harmless and even adventageous because of the things you can buy and do with it, the Word of God paints a much different picture. Living this way is pictured as chasing our own death and destruction. It is pictured as the most foolish and meaningless of lifestyles. And hopefully, such a picture will turn us from pursuing things that actually make us poor rather than rich.