Prov. 11:18- "The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward."
"...he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward."
Is this passage a promise that all those who obey God's commands will materially prosper? NO! In fact, this passage, the preceding passages and the ones that follow, picture the wicked prospering materially in this world, while the righteous receive rewards of a far different and lasting character. In Prov. 11:16, we read that a gracious woman preserves her honor, but ruthless men retain riches. By "gracious," Solomon speaks of showing favor, being kindhearted to others. Those who exhibit this graciousness gain a character that is looked up to, trusted, respected. But ruthless men are only kind when it is to their advantage. Their only gain on earth is riches. A merciful man is at peace with God and man, while a cruel man "troubles his own flesh." (v. 17) The cruel man must always worry that his cruelty to others will cause his victims to strike back at him. He cannot allow himself to rest easy. The deception of the wicked man (v. 18) brings vexation to him because he lies to everyone and it becomes impossible to keep track of all his lies. Eventually, his dishonesty is exposed. The man who pursues evil subjects himself to the world's revenge, the pangs of conscience and a thousand worries. That is why Solomon warns us that such a life leads to death. (v. 19)
The righteous have no such worries but have an expectation of a "sure reward" (v. 18), a life of expectation of experienceing the goodness of God. (v. 19) "Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord, but the blameless in their ways are His delight." (v. 20) The wicked will eventually face judgement, but not only will the righteous be rewarded, the posterity of the righteous will share in these rewards. (v. 21) The righteous may not prosper materially, but their reward is eternal, their treasures are in heaven "where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Mt. 6:20)
All scripture quotations from the NKJV.