A mouthful of gravel! What an unpleasant feeling! Proverbs 20:17 pictures a man who began eating a piece of sweet bread which he had obtained by dishonest methods, but then found that his mouth was filled with stones.
I know what it’s like. A while ago I sank into a comfortable chair, tossed some peanuts into my mouth, and began chewing. Suddenly my teeth crunched on something other than a peanut. Like lightning, a stab of pain shot through my mouth. Spitting out the peanuts, I found among them a pebble and a piece of broken tooth!
Solomon used this imagery to speak of the bread of deceit. To expect that sin will not be punished is a delusion. He who lives only for pleasure and temporal enjoyment will find himself at last with only a mouthful of gravel.
Shady practices and questionable methods in business may seem to pay off at the time, but afterward they bring nothing but regret.
In sharp contrast, Solomon said, “The righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him” (Prov. 20:7). If we live truthfully instead of deceptively, we will not end up with a mouthful of gravel.
Let worldly minds the world pursue,
It has no charms for me;
Once I admired its trifles too,
But grace has set me free! —Anon.
A deceiver's ultimate victim is himself.