Proverbs 20:21

Things Hastily Gained

21a An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning

A. An inheritance

1. Prov. 13:22 – A good man leaves an inheritance to his children.

2. Prov. 19:14 – Parents often leave their house and whatever money they have left to their children.

3. This is the norm. When a parent dies, it is quite natural for him or her to leave whatever wealth they have to their children.

4. Sometimes family squabbles and other issues interfere with that… but it is still the norm.

5. It is a good idea for parents to have a will drawn up so that your wishes are carried out when you leave this world. Don’t leave it up to the state to decide!

B. Gotten Hastily

1. Hastily: To make haste; to be in a hurry; immediately or suddenly; to be overly eager; to be in a rush.

a. This term in this context is a bit ambiguous.

b. As is the case in several of Solomon’s proverbs, it may have been intentionally ambiguous…

c. Solomon may have wanted his readers to think about BOTH possibilities with the use of this term.

2. It could refer to the fact that an inheritance is gained suddenly when the last parent dies.

a. The second that parent dies, the heir immediately becomes the owner of the property and wealth.

b. In the case of a very wealthy family, the son could instantly become a millionaire… or a billionaire!

c. Suddenly he has the legal right to the family estate.

3. The term could also refer to an inheritance gained suddenly in another way.

a. Prov. 28:22 – Here Solomon uses the same term (haste). Only here he uses the term with evil connotations: “hasting to be rich.”

b. This implies dishonest means of obtaining wealth.

c. Dear old dad is on his death bed, and his son is in a hurry to get his inheritance… so he finds a way to accelerate his dad’s decline… with a teaspoon of antifreeze in his coffee every morning.

d. Don’t think this sort of thing doesn’t happen. It does! In the last days men shall be without natural affection.

e. It doesn’t have to include murder. Sons of wealthy parents have been quite ingenious in their plans to hasten their inheritance.
• Some have had their aging parents declared incompetent to handle their own finances… and take over.
• Some have tricked their parents into signing over their wealth to them…

f. Prov. 21:6 – Sometimes the son may LIE to his father and conjure up a real good story as to WHY he needs his inheritance NOW. (I’m in trouble with the mafia; I have a gambling debt and they will kill me; etc.)

g. Luke 15:11-12 – Then there is the story of the prodigal son.
• “A certain man had two sons: 12And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living.”
• This son got his inheritance hastily. He couldn’t wait. He wanted it now.
• This must have broken the father’s heart. Surely he could see what was coming for this son.
• The father knew that this overly eager son would not have the wisdom to handle the money properly. He must have known that it would be wasted.
• But the son insisted, and the father relented.
• This son got his inheritance hastily at the beginning.

21b But the end thereof shall not be blessed.

1. Here Solomon speaks of the RESULT of such instant wealth.

2. Luke 15:13-16 – Consider the END of the road for the prodigal son.

a. He wasted his money. “Easy come; easy go.” That is the real lesson of this proverb.

b. His father worked a lifetime to save that money. The son blew it in no time at all.

c. Because the father worked so hard to accumulate that wealth, he understood the value of it.

d. But the son did NOT work for it. Because it was handed to him on a silver platter, he did not understand the true value of it.

e. To the father, that money represented a lifetime of labor. To the son it was instant cash. It was like winning the lottery!

f. In no time at all, this son returns to his father’s house… poor… empty handed… having wasted his inheritance.

g. Had he waited until he was older (or until his father died) he would have been older AND wiser.

h. Young people do not have the wisdom to handle large sums of money… regardless of how loudly they insist that they do.

i. Just look at the lives of the 20 year old athletes who become instant millionaires because they can throw a football or a basketball.

j. Just look at the lives of the 20 year olds who become instant millionaires as a movie star or rock star. There are way too many sad stories like Brittany Spears… and others like her.

k. Money hastily received in ANY manner often results in a sad, tragic end like this. It is all too common.

l. Solomon saw and heard about so many prodigal sons and Brittany Spears stories in his lifetime that he decided to write a proverb about it.

m. An inheritance is just ONE example of a large sum of money received suddenly… instantly, without the wisdom needed to use it properly… without the maturity to understand its value.

n. “Easy come; easy go” is an American proverb that captures the same thought.

3. Prov. 28:22 – And what about the one who hastens to be rich with evil intentions?

a. Poverty comes to him in the latter end.

b. His get rich quick schemes may work every once in a while.

c. Because they work once in a while, he assumes that he can make a living that way.

d. He envisions his cheap little scam will last forever… and that he is on easy street.

e. Hence, he never seeks a REAL job. He never gains any skills that are truly marketable.

f. He wastes his life on his silly dreams about being rich with some new scheme.

g. What he doesn’t realize is that most often they do NOT work.

h. In the end he finds himself in poverty…

i. In the end, he is not blessed. A “get rich quick” mentality is really a curse… not a blessing.

4. Then we have the many cases of the son who instantly inherits his father’s business when his father dies.

a. The father worked many decades to get that business on its feet.

b. He put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into building up that business.

c. He knew what it meant to work well into the night to balance the books…

d. The father knew what it to took to keep the business afloat during an economic recession…

e. The father learned about the importance of having good employees and he learned to treat them fairly.

f. The father knew about all the extras that it took to keep the business going… advertising… upkeep of the property…

g. The father spent years putting out the very best product that he could.

h. The father spent 50 years building up that business.

i. The son inherits and drives it into the ground in a year and a half.

j. Becoming the head of a big business like that came to him so easily; he thought that running it would be easy too. He was dead wrong.

k. Instead of investing some of the profits in upkeep and taking care of his employees, he blew the cash on a big new house, a boat, and a ski chalet at Vail!

l. And before you know it—his father’s business was worthless.

m. What seemed to be a great blessing when he inherited it, was not a blessing in the end.

n. Solomon saw that sort of thing happen way too often.

5. And what about the son who is so eager for his father to die that he hastens his death in order to speed up the day he gets his inheritance?

a. He may find himself in jail for the rest of his life… or face the death penalty.

b. Instead of living the good life… he may END his life… or live the rest of it behind bars.

6. Prov. 10:22 – the blessing of the Lord usually comes the old fashioned way: through hard work, diligence, industry, sacrifice, and saving.

a. This blessing comes with no sorrow… no guilt… no shame… no guilty conscience like wealth that comes hastily through deception or conniving.

b. Quick, easy money doesn’t last very long.

c. It often destroys a person’s industry… it ruins their initiative and drive to achieve… It stunts a person’s growth.

d. Prov. 21:5 – Diligence leads to plenty; HASTY to be rich leads to want… a lack…