Reid Ferguson

Proverbs 11:1-10

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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[learn_more caption=”Proverbs 11 ESV”]

A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
but a just weight is his delight.
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
5 The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.
7 When the wicked dies, his hope will perish,
and the expectation of wealth perishes too.
8 The righteous is delivered from trouble,
and the wicked walks into it instead.
9 With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.
11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.
13 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.
14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm,
but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.
16 A gracious woman gets honor,
and violent men get riches.
17 A man who is kind benefits himself,
but a cruel man hurts himself.
18 The wicked earns deceptive wages,
but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.
19 Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but he who pursues evil will die.
20 Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.
21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good;
the expectation of the wicked in wrath.
24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.
26 The people curse him who holds back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.
27 Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
but evil comes to him who searches for it.
28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.
29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and whoever captures souls is wise.
31 If the righteous is repaid on earth,
how much more the wicked and the sinner.

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Solomon: Weighing Things Correctly

 

Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.

The theme of chapter 11 is valuing – weighing things correctly. Over rating and under rating are both acts of deception. We can easily over emphasize and add spin when we want things to be seen a certain way. Fear of people and desire for being viewed a certain way can result in exaggerations and minimizations to suit the hour. It is an abomination to the Lord.

But more than deceiving others by the use of “false balances” is the problem of self-deception which arises from our failure to value things in terms of God’s economy versus that of the World.

The World’s value system revolves around three things (1 John 2:15-17): Desires of the flesh: Viewing all life from SELF – outward; Lust of the eye: Valuing the seen and what is on the surface above the unseen and the true substance; Pride of life: Security and well-being in the seen above the unseen. Living in the immediate above the eternal. When these outweigh the reality of who we are and why we were created from God’s perspective, and valuing what He tells us is worth valuing above these 3 things – nothing but misery and judgment can follow. How Solomon labors in this chapter to get his son to examine what it is he places value on, and why.

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

All sin can trace its roots back to pride. Not pride in the sense of imagining ourselves so wonderful – but more in the sense of unwillingness to submit to God’s rule. Pride that can appear emotionally humble – but acts as though self has the rights of God.

Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.

This is living by principle above precept. When one has a solid sense of integrity – a life that is lived on consistent principles of action in every sphere, then many “decisions” about individual issues, are off the table and need no further consideration.

When one determines that human life is sacred as man is made in God’s image, racial discrimination, abortion, abuse of others, neglect of the poor – are simply non-issues. By principle, they cannot be entered into. The “upright” one is guided then – even though he or she is not given individual answers for every specific case.

Proverbs 11:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Here is a most sobering and useful thought to return to when tempted: Whatever it is you think you are gaining from your sin at this moment – it is worthless. And it will be seen so in all of its folly on the day of judgment.

Proverbs 11:6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.

The clarity and usefulness of this statement cannot be overemphasized. Either one walks in the freedom which is theirs in Christ – or they are slaves to sin. There is no other option. There is no middle ground between the two. Either we are free in serving Christ, or we are slaves to our lusts. And it behooves us all to examine ourselves regularly to see where we are in this regard. And if we find ourselves living as slaves to our sins again, to run back to our Redeemer, or Savior, and seek the working out of His setting the captives free in our own hearts and lives once more by the power of His Spirit. It is only if we walk in the Spirit, that we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:16)

Proverbs 11:10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.

This is not an affirmation that it is right to shout for gladness when the wicked perish. Even our Lord declares that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. And Proverbs 24:17-18 will warn us: “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. ”

It is instead meant to be a solemn observation – that those who think they gain so much by dishonesty and deceit, in the end prove to be so onerous to others that it is a relief when they are gone. What a legacy.

~ Reid

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Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.

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