LINK: Proverbs 11
Proverbs uses contrasts to teach us. The contrasts help us understand what the alternatives are and make clear our choices. The first nine chapters of the book express the contrasts in longer sections: contrasting wisdom with folly and making it clear that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of widsom.. We have learned that as we follow the Lord with trust, committed to the path of wisdom, we are made wiser. In the last twenty-one chapters of the book we’ll discover how we can “fear the Lord” in everyday life, in small details. Chapters 10 – 15 express contrasts in short units, usually of one verse. Frequently the verse has “but” in the middle between the two contrasting statements.
As I read this chapter I was struck by all the contrasts between the godly and ungodly. The godly person is characterized by humility, integrity, right living, peace, kind words, generosity, and wisdom. Quite a bit is wrapped up in those words. The ungodly person is characterized by foolishness, dishonesty, treachery, pride, greed, and hypocrisy.
The righteous or godly are compared to green leaves and trees that bear lifegiving fruit in vv.28 and 30. “He who trusts in his riches will fall,/ But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf. “ “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,/ And he who is wise wins souls.” I love those images more and more as I grow older! As we’ve seen over and over again in the passages we’ve read this year, it’s important where our trust is placed. Is our trust centered on ourselves or some other person, on our family or things? Or are we clinging to the Lord in humble trust, realizing that He is the only sure foundation. Being godly doesn’t mean we’re exempt from suffering. It does mean we have someone to turn to when we do suffer. As we trust in the Lord and live in obedience to Him, He will nourish our souls and give us life, which in turn can bless others.
“The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD,/ But the blameless in their walk are His delight.” (20) That verse contains a strong contrast! God is disgusted by hypocrisy, by those who claim to follow God but really serve themselves. God delights in those who are wholehearted in seeking righteousness – in seeking Him - those who have integrity. The Hebrew word for “blameless” means complete, whole, entire, sound. The word “walk” means habits or manner of life.
What are your habits? Do you want to delight the Lord? Read through Chapter 11 and notice what actions bring delight to the Lord. Are there any that you find yourself struggling with? Ask God to help you in those areas.
Dear Lord, Thank you that the way to wisdom lies simply in realizing we’re not wise and that we need You! You are our righteousness and our strength. Keep us from putting our trust in what has no power to help us. May your Spirit use this chapter to show each of us specific ways we can give You more delight.