Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs
..[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.
Solomon: Weighing Things Correctly II
Proverbs 11:11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.
Talk is cheap. One does not bless by merely uttering kind words – though certainly that is a part. Christians do not bless their communities by simply making pronouncements. One must act to truly bless. We must live uprightly, honestly, devotedly, authentically. When we merely profess Christianity with our mouths, while denying it in our thoughts, attitudes and actions – we do not bless, we curse. When one makes the sum of their actions talk – destruction is not far behind. Beware the temptation to lip service.
At the same time, words are not meaningless either.
They can be an exceedingly destructive force. Many a person has suffered for years under thoughtless, careless or vicious words from others. “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me” is true on one level. But such things can pierce the soul and leave true lasting wounds and scars. Worse, the lying, misleading or vilifying words of the wicked inevitably bring destruction upon any society. Be it the small society of the home, or the greater society of the city, state or nation.
We must beware that the lips which were created to praise the Living God, are not employed to crush those who are made in His image. “the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.” (James 3:6-10)
Proverbs 11:15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm, but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.
What an interesting observation to be made in the midst of a passage about learning how to “weigh” things rightly. And a principle to be considered carefully in our everyday lives. Loans should not be easy to obtain. Knowledge of the individual, their habits and attitudes, their track record – their viability as a re-payer, these all need to be established well. To ignore this, is to invite disaster. The present state of our national economy bears tragic witness to this reality. But remember what is most often behind the willingness to extend risky credit – at least commercially; making a quick buck, no matter what it may do to the one who is a shaky borrower. It is a lack of love. It is valuing the profit to be made, above the welfare of the one to be profited from. An unjust, deceived balance.
Proverbs 11:22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion.
Beauty is an adornment, an accessory – not part of the person.
Beware. It reveals nothing about their soul. It can hide the most vile corruption. And how needed this is when considering marriage. A pretty face or a handsome countenance, smooth speech, flattering words and warmly expressed explanations are often mistaken for a beautiful heart. We forget that Satan himself appears as an angel of light, beautiful – completely disguising the hidden opposition to all that is good which defines him. And let us beware that we ourselves do not mistake our own attractiveness for virtue. Just because we do not look in the mirror and see the “face” of a murderer, does not mean that a murderer’s hatred doesn’t lurk within. Oh that the Spirit of God might search us and know us, to see what wicked ways may remain within – and lead us in the way everlasting. Father help us that we are not putting the ornament of religion on an unconverted soul, and leading ourselves and others astray in the process.
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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.