* This drawing in public domain from a book by Luiken, Jan (1649-1712) is titled "Beschouwing der wereld : bestaande in hondert konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken."
The titled "The Forest: It Is Unsafe". In a dark forest a hiker, with a walking stick and rucksack, looks behind him for hidden dangers. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing this emblem and composed the poem that accompanies it. The etching was executed by Jan Luiken or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708), who had used this image in an earlier work. The attendant scriptures are Proverbs 11:5 and Proverbs 16:17.
Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
The motto is "Before and behind, Is danger". The accompanying poem is:
In the wild forest hides evil,
That concealed under the dense leaves,
Is after the life of the walker,
Who solitary wanders along the path.
O World! very dangerous Forest!
Overgrown with all kinds of leaves,
Behind which ruin resides,
To surprise the careless life.
O World's huge Wilderness!
Of Killers and wild beasts!
Through which nonetheless the lane runs,
A path, for the lowest and the highest;
As everyone (who appeared in this Time)
Must unavoidably pass by thee,
To the far Region of Eternity;
Here is no Retreat, nor turning back.
So whoever is then of wise deliberation,
And would love to keep his life,
See that he does not go alone,
Or he might regret it too late.
A Faithful Guide offers himself,
One should put oneself under his protection,
So one can avoid the great danger;
From the evil Hand and Tooth of rage:
O Man! do not trust thyself alone;
God is the company that I mean.
(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)
>1. How were scales used in ancient cultures and when does their use delight the Lord? (1)
* Proverbs 11:1 "The LORD abhors dishonest scales, but accurate weights are his delight."
* "The LORD" -The covenant name of the God of Israel, a translation of the name "Yahweh", "Jehovah", and "YHWH". Lord is YHWH in Hebrew. The most widely accepted pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is Yahweh, though Jehovah is used in many Bibles, but in few modern ones. It is connected to the passage in Exodus 3:14 in which God gives his name to Moses, "I am that I am" (or "I Will Be What I Will Be", "I Will Be What I Am"). The Israelites consider it the name of the covenant at Mount Sinai.
* "abhors dishonest scales" -The Hebrew word for "abhors" is "to ebah" and can also be translated as "abomination" and "finds disgusting".
* "accurate weights are his delight" -The Hebrew word for "delight" is "rason" and can also be translated as "pleasure", "acceptance", and "desire".
* Scales were used for many a millennium in almost all societies during commerce; the buying and selling of goods. Silver and gold would be placed on one tray and various stone weights were used on the other. The device was meant to make each exchange the same and fair. For as long as they have been in use people have swindled each other.
Modern-day application of this verse would deal with honesty in financial matters. Do I pay the full bill when I eat at a restaurant? Do I shoplift? Do I eat food in a grocery store? Do I properly advertise what I am selling? Do I bait and switch? Do I perform at work as was agreed upon when hired? Do I pay and reimburse my employees as agreed upon when hired?
Many believe that swindling another is clever and wise. However, the LORD abhors dishonest business. The Hebrew word for abhors is "to ebah" and can also be translated as "abomination" and "finds disgusting". Part of the reason he detests dishonest trade is that this wickedness is acting under the color of justice.
The proverb is not saying everyone should make the same pay, nor that neither party should profit. Nor is this saying that if a person has a lot of money and possessions, then they are evil. All this is saying is that we should conduct commerce accurately for this is the Lord's delight.
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:1.
>Why and how does pride bring forth disgrace? (2)
* Proverbs 11:2 "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom."
* "When pride comes, then comes disgrace" -The Hebrew word for "pride" is "zadon" and can also be translated as "presumptuously". "Zadon" comes from the root word "zuwd" which means "arrogance". The Hebrew word for "disgrace" is "qalon" and can also be translated "shame", "confusion", and "dishonor". "Qalon" is from the primitive root Hebrew word "qalah" which means "confusion", "dishonor", "ignominy", "reproach", "shame", and "disgrace".
* "with humility comes wisdom." -The Hebrew word for "humility" is "sana" and can also be translated "lowly". "Sana" is a primitive root Hebrew word.
* Pride comes in many forms. Not all pride is harmful though most pride experienced is. Humility comes in many forms. Not all humility is good though most humility experience is.
The most historically common definition of pride is a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing and conduct. Biblical pride is a bit different. The Bible defines pride as undue confidence in and attention to one's own skills, accomplishments, state, possessions, or position. Pride is easier to recognize than to define, easier to recognize in others than in oneself.
The trip of pride as defined by the Bible is that eventually my skill, accomplishments, state, possessions, or position changes. That which I could be proud of becomes my disgrace. That is why humility is wisdom.
The most historically common definition of humility is the quality or condition of being humble; a modest opinion or estimate of one's own importance and rank. Biblical humility is a bit different. Biblical humility means getting confidence from God, who loves and values me more than I do. Biblical humility means believing what God says about me over anyone else's opinion, including my own.
Jesus taught, "The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:11-12)
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:2.
>How do integrity and duplicity control our life? (3)
* Proverbs 11:3 "The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity."
* "The integrity of the upright guides them"
* "the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity"
* Integrity is a virtue all desire and fails more times than stacked stones fall over.
Integrity is ethical and moral righteousness. Integrity does not guarantee that others will be righteous toward me. It is better to be a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse (19:1)
Integrity can be seen in the lives of Moses (Numbers 16:15), Samuel (1 Samuel 18:12), an unnamed man (2 Samuel 18:12), an unnamed man of God (1 Kings 13:8, Elisha the man of God (2 Kings 5:16), and the men paying the workers repairing the temple during Joash's reign (2 Kings 12:15).
Integrity guides the upright in all matters especially dealing with finance and possessions. A person with integrity is perfect and blameless. A person with integrity has singleness of heart and mind. A righteous person sets a good example of integrity; thus being a living sage (Titus 2:7)
Duplicity is a vice all despise and find in ourselves more than stones in a fallen pile.
Duplicity destroys those who practice it. Duplicity is ethical and morally perverse. Duplicity guarantees others will deceive me and be dishonest in their dealings with me. One does not seek to be a better hypocrite whose walk is evil, though it comes naturally to the perverse.
Duplicity was warned by Jesus, "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full... And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full... When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16)
Love must be sincere. (Romans 12:9, 2 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Peter 1:22)
Faith must be sincere. (1 Timothy 1:5, 1 Timothy 1:5)
Wisdom must be sincere. (James 3:17)
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:3.
>How does death bring all to the same level before God? (4)
* Proverbs 11:4 "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."
* "Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath"
* "righteousness delivers from death"
* An old saying goes something like this, "There are only two things sure in life; taxes and death." Just as a person cannot buy their way into heaven with money or good deeds, so a person cannot pay enough to stop physical death. The tax well like death is never full.
Death is not the end of existence. Righteousness delivers from death. Since all are sinners the righteousness that delivers from death has to come from someone other than the sinful self. The righteousness from Christ delivers from death.
Jesus is without sin for his Father is God. He lived a perfect life. Yet he died, not that death had power over him. Rather he let death come. His reasoning was love for me. He died so I can live. He bargained with death. He died so I would rise from the dead.
A day is coming when all will have to give an account for deeds done and thoughts pondered while in the flesh. After physical death, all will have to give an account for sins. Those who had active faith in Jesus' forgiveness will not be found with sin, no penalty to pay. The righteous will live forever. I will live because Jesus died. Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath. The judge cannot be bribed.
* This drawing in public domain from a book by Luiken, Jan (1649-1712) is titled "De Bykorf des Gemoeds : Honing zaamelende uit allerley Bloemen / Vervattende over de Honderd konstige Figuuren ; Met Godlyke Spreuken En Stichtelyke Verzen, Door Jan Luiken"
The titled "The Salmon: Turn Around, Turn Around". In the right foreground, a fisher tries to sell a large salmon to a woman accompanied by her child; behind them is a fisherwoman and further behind are houses. On the left is a large river with an artificial waterfall over which a salmon tries to jump. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem, as well as for the poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant Scripture text is Proverbs 11:5-6.
Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
The motto is "Although wealth enters the mouth, In the end it gives a deep wound.". The accompanying poem is:
The Salmon, desiring fresh streams,
Tries constantly to get farther,
Till he finally is stopped in front of a barrier;
But as his desire pushes him still further on,
He instinctively jumps over it,
Since he judges there to be more streams.
Though, it would have been better, to turn around,
And not follow his desires so much,
Since, cunning Deceit has made a flat piece of land there,
To cleverly deceive his undertaking,
(As his jump cannot not fly over that,)
On which he falls, and so gets caught.
O Poor Soul! now having swum long enough,
So that thou wouldst steadily taste,
The luxury-stream, of worldly pleasure.
If thou dost feel like stopping before God's judgment,
Then, do not begin with a reckless decision,
(Because thy desire, dost see still further pleasure)
To jump over that with courage,
But seek much sooner to restrain thyself,
To turn back thoughtfully,
And so, as desired, preserve thy life,
And be free of the evil in that which is good,
So that thy Soul can nourish itself with joy.
Or otherwise, if thou wouldst not turn around,
Thou wouldst reach woe and misery,
If thou didst find thy jump with him too short,
And wouldst alas be grasped by a hand,
Which would drag thee away forcefully and wretchedly,
From the world's flat ground to the mouth of hell.
(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)
>2. What does it mean to make a straight way in light of the fate of the wicked? (5)
* Proverbs 11:5 "The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness."
* "The righteousness"
* "the blameless"
* "makes a straight way for them"
* "the wicked"
>How does our actions depict our fate?
* Proverbs 11:6 "The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires."
* "the upright"
* "The righteousness of the upright delivers them"
* "the unfaithful"
* "evil desires"
* Making a straight way means easily and quickly reaching a goal. The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them. How?
The righteousness of the upright delivers them. Verse 4 says it delivers them from death. The delivery in verse 6 is from evil desires.
Jesus taught, "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13-14)
Who is to blame? The wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. The unfaithful are trapped by their evil desires. I learn to take control of my evil desires and wicked thoughts. Like any muscle, it takes time and has pain. But after every workout, I feel better.
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:4-6.
>Does both the wicked and righteous have hope? (7)
* Proverbs 11:7 "When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes; all he expected from his power comes to nothing."
* "When a wicked man dies, his hope perishes"
* "all he expected from his power comes to nothing."
>Who rescues the righteous from trouble? (8; Esther 5:14, 7:10)
* Proverbs 11:8 "The righteous man is rescued from trouble, and it comes on the wicked instead."
* "The righteous man is rescued from trouble" -Trouble comes to all including the righteous.
* "it comes on the wicked instead." -Mordecai was rescued from the noose hung by Haman. Haman was then hung of the noose he hung for Mordecai. (Esther 5:14, 7:10)
* The wicked and the righteous are compared in these verses as in the rest of this chapter. The wicked can have power over others in this world (7). The wicked can have hope and expectations too. Yet, when death comes his hope perishes and their power comes to nothing (7).
The godless and the wicked have similarities though these life choices are different. The godless speak and write lies about others, especially their neighbors (9). Yet, just because a person speaks a lie doesn't mean they are godless. A person of God when they speak a lie will accept their error and do all they can to make recompense. The godless liar will keep up the lie.
Many reasons exist why lies are spoken; to protect self or others, to do damage to others, out of fear, out of pride, to gain attention, to gain power, and to impress others. All lies are an insult to God who is the origin of truth. Jesus called the Spirit of God the Spirit of truth. (John 16:13) Jesus said of the devil, "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44) When a lie is spoken for whatever reason we speak the language of the devil.
Many times I have been in situations where telling the truth was hard and hard not to lie. These are times when my integrity and character are being tested. "So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)
Through knowledge, the righteous escape lies (9).
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:7-9.
>3. What is the path source of destruction and escape? (9)
* Proverbs 11:9 "With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape."
* "With his mouth the godless destroys his neighbor"
* "through knowledge the righteous escape."
>Why would the prosperity of the righteous bring joy to a city?
* Proverbs 11:10 "When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy."
* "When the righteous prosper"
* "the city rejoices"
* "when the wicked perish"
* "there are shouts of joy."
* When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices. Surely this is true for the right way to live, interact with others, and doing in God's eyes surely brings prosperity to all. Joy and happiness fills the hearts of many.
When the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. Surely this is true for the wrong way to live, improper interaction with others, and not doing in God's eye brings suffering to society. People begin knowing who is to blame for society's woe. When the wicked die people have hope.
I can be a positive influence in my family, town, and country simply by living righteously. Sometimes I doubt that I am making any good impact to others simply because I am one small person who has faith in Jesus and believes his ways are true and good. Yet here I see that a few small acts of faith, hope, and love can make others rejoice though I do not see evidence of it.
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:10.
>What does it mean "through the blessing of the upright? (11)
* Proverbs 11:11 "Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed."
* "Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted"
* "by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed."
II. Attaining Live and Death (11:12-22)
>4. When is a good time to hold the tongue?
* Proverbs 11:12 "A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue."
* "A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor,"
* "a man of understanding holds his tongue."
* Civic righteousness is the subject of verses 11-14. The blessing of the upright comes from God's blessing and teaching through them. The upright's good influence and desire for justice for all as well as their prosperity are how a city and nation is lifted up out of the dregs.
"Remove the wicked from the king's presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness." (Proverbs 25:5; 28:2; 29:4, 14) "In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness, a man will sit on it; one from the house of David; one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of the righteous" (Isaiah 16:5) His name is Jesus. Those in his kingdom still in this world are the upright.
The members of the kingdom in this world know when to hold their tongue (12) They keep a secret (13). And they are among the many advisers who make victory sure (14). The mouth of the wicked destroys society. They deceive, are dishonest, and sow discord. They lack judgment and thus deride their neighbor (12). They gossip and lack pure and true guidance (13,14).
So herein lays a foundation for my character development; love, faith, and hope - the greatest of these is love. These are good for me and bring civic righteousness.
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:11-14.
* See a drawing to the right by an unknown author is now in public domain. Proverbs 11:13, 12:11, 20:19, 21:13, 25:17, and 27:14 are noted.
>Why are secrets told and are they necessary?
* Proverbs 11:13 "A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret."
* "A gossip betrays a confidence"
* "a trustworthy man keeps a secret."
>5. Why do nations need many advisors and can a family and city be included with this proverb? (14)
* Proverbs 11:14 "For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure."
* "For lack of guidance a nation falls"
* "many advisers make victory sure."
>What does up mean to put up security for another? (15)
* Proverbs 11:15 "He who puts up security for another will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe."
* Ruth 3:10 "The LORD bless you, my daughter," he replied. "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor."
* "puts up security" -Also in 6:1-5. This refers to responsibility for someone else's dept or for some other obligation. It can end in abject poverty or even slavery if you cannot pay. For example, Judah volunteered to personally guarantee the safe return of Benjamin to offer himself to Joseph as a slave (Genesis 44:32-33). Such an arrangement was sealed by "striking hands", equivalent to modern day handshake. (NIV Study Bible)
* "will surely suffer"
* "whoever refuses to strike hands in pledge is safe."
* Putting up security for another and striking hands in a pledge were talked about in detail in chapter 6 verses 1 thru 5. There the Father tells his son to escape such a trap as quickly as possible. These two phrases are referring to business responsibilities for someone else's debt or for some other obligation like paying back a debt because I paid for something on credit.
Here the truth is stated that he who puts up security for another will surely suffer. The bondsman trade is a similar type of transaction. The bonding company charges a fee, usually between 12% and 15% of the bond amount so a person who is charged with an alleged crime does not have to be in jail as they await trial. Unlike a cash bond, this fee is non-refundable.
Jesus is like a bondsman in that he put up himself as a bond so that I can go free as I await trial. More than that, on the day of trial I will be found innocent of sin because he paid the price for my sin. Jesus is my bondsman and my scapegoat. Surely Jesus suffered when he put up security for me.
1 Peter 2:21-25 states, "To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls."
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:15.
>6. What does it mean to be a kindhearted woman? (16; Ruth 3:10)
* Proverbs 11:16 "A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."
* Ruth 2:20 "The LORD bless him!" Naomi said to her daughter-in-law. "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead." She added, "That man is our close relative; he is one of our kinsman-redeemers."
* "A kindhearted woman" -Kindness comes from the heart as does all emotions. Kindness is a verb more than a nown. Kindness is a state of the heart that is expressed practically to another. The greatest kindness is enacted when it is towards an enemy according to Jesus who taught, "If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer him the other."
* "gains respect" -Respect must be gained and earned. Respect for another is granted when a person shows a virtue that the other desires.
* "ruthless men gain only wealth" -Ruthless is defined as having or showing no pity or compassion for others. A person can gain wealth through ruthlessness. However, in the process they lose the respect of others. The ruthless often die lonely and abandoned.
* This proverb assumes that "a good name is more desirable than great riches" (22:1) and insightfully observes that a woman, if she is kindhearted, will be accorded more respect than wealthy men if they are ruthless. (NIV Study Bible)
>What happens to a kind man? (17; Ruth 2:20)
* Proverbs 11:17 "A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself."
* "A kind man"
* "benefits himself"
* "a cruel man"
* "brings trouble on himself."
* Kindhearted women and kind men are celebrated. Kindness is selfless, compassionate, and merciful. Being kind means doing to others as I want them to do to me. Being kind gains respect and benefits the giver and receiver.
Jesus describes the kind person this way, ""You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:38-48)
Ruthless and cruel people are the inverse of kind people. Though the ruthless may gain wealth, they lose respect and bring trouble to themselves. Being ruthless and cruel is a decision to not resist those impulses. A repeat offender has decided to not be kind for personal gratitude and gain.
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:16-17.
>Though not easy, what is the result of sowing righteousness? (18)
* Proverbs 11:18 "The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward."
* "The wicked man"
* "earns deceptive wages"
* "he who sows righteousness"
* "reaps a sure reward."
* Raising crops has been an ongoing human activity for mankind since before the flood. Every culture has farmers with small gardens to 1,000-acre fields. Sowing seeds is a familiar practice. If a farmer wants a harvest of wheat they sow wheat seeds. If a farmer wants oats they sow oat seeds. If a farmer wants rice they sow rice seeds. Fruit and vegetable farms also sow seeds according to the crop they want.
What does it mean to sow righteousness? Galatians 6:7-10 explains, "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."
Sowing righteousness is living and doing the right action. The more I am good to others the more I change. The more I change the more I grow into a character whose heart has faith, hope, and love. "The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness." (James 3:17-18) "The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward."
Listen to the above comments on Proverb 11:18.
>7. How can a person be truly righteous? (17; Romans 3:21-26)
* Proverbs 11:19 "The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death."
* Romans 3:21-26 ("But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished--
26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."
* "The truly righteous man attains life"
* "he who pursues evil goes to his death."
* "The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death." A person might read this and think, "How can I attain life since I am already breathing and my heart beats? Am I not alive already?"
One man who came to talk to Jesus made just that statement when Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." The man replied, "How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!" (John 3:3-4) Nicodemus was being sarcastic for he was as righteous as his society and religion defined it.
Since Nicodemus was a truly righteous Jew in the first century why did Jesus tell him, "No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again?" The seeming contradiction between verse 19 and Nicodemus is in Jesus' answer, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8)
The Spirit of God makes a person righteous and so they attain life. So why doesn't everyone attain life? Why wouldn't Nicodemus see the kingdom of God? Why do those who pursue evil go to their death (19)? Was Nicodemus pursuing evil? The Holy Spirit is very picky about whose spirit is born and whose spirit remains lifeless. Jesus revealed to Nicodemus the action that the Spirit is looking for so that he may grant any person's spirit life He declared, "Everyone who believes in the Son of Man may have eternal life." (John 3:15) The truly righteous confess and live the belief in Jesus, the Son of God.
On this day of Thanksgiving (as celebrated in the US) I am thankful that the Holy Spirit who is very picky has granted my spirit life. He has made me a truly righteous man through faith in Jesus.
>What does it mean to have a perverse heart and to be blameless? (20)
* Proverbs 11:20 "The LORD detests men of perverse heart but he delights in those whose ways are blameless."
* "The LORD detests men of perverse heart"
* "he delights in those whose ways are blameless."
>What time frame is verse 21 referring to? (Matthew 25:31-46)
* Proverbs 11:21 "Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free."
* Matthew 25:31-46 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
* "Be sure of this" -God's promise that justice will be executed. Abraham, when he saw the wicked of his generation considered why it seems that the wicked get away with so much evil. And why the righteous seem to suffered though they do what is right. The Lord and two angels visited him. The Lord's answer came with the destruction of the cities of the plain of Sodom and Gomorrah.
* "The wicked will not go unpunished" -Though it is not apparent and it seems that with wicked do not get the punishment they deserve, they will give and account of their actions. Punishment will be delivered.
* "those who are righteous will go free" -To go free means without punishment.
* This proverb is well used when considering these things: Am I righteous? Who determines righteous? What is the basis of his righteous? Is anyone righteous based on his standard? Is righteousness upheld if even one fault is made? Is anyone therefore, righteous considering one's deeds? Is there another way to be righteous and justice upheld?
>Explain the metaphor in verse 22.
* Proverbs 11:22 "Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion."
* "a gold ring in a pig's snout" -A gold ring was commonly worn by women on their noses in ancient cultures (and some modern ones too). (Genesis 24:47; Ezekiel 16:12)
* "a beautiful woman who shows no discretion." -Abigail was praised by David for her display of "good judgment". (1 Samuel 25:33)
* An old saying goes like this: No amount of makeup and perfume can cover up an ugly heart.
* "discretion" -The original Hebrew word for "discretion" is "tumma" meaning "innocence and integrity" and "sense and order".
* This is a warning to men who is seeking a relationship with a woman, and a warning to women who wants to have a lasting beautiful relationship with a man.
III. Generosity (11:23-31)
* This drawing in public domain from a book by Luiken, Jan (1649-1712) is titled "Spiegel van het menselyk bedryf : vertoonende honderd verscheiden ambachten, konstig afgebeeld en met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen verryke / door Jan en Kasper Luiken".
The titled "The Basket Maker". The basket maker is in the process of weaving a willow basket, while sitting under a tree in front of his house. Several completed baskets are on the ground around him and one hangs on the tree. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing this emblem and for creating the motto and poem that follow. Jan Luiken and/or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708) were responsible for its etching. The attendant scripture text is Proverbs 11:28.
Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
The motto is "The leaky vessel, Retains no liquid". The accompanying poem is:
He who scooped water with a basket,
Did not seem to be in his right mind:
Many hands seek to grasp salvation,
In the leaky barrel of this time,
But it all will seep away from them:
Scoop salvation in the vessel of eternity
(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)
>8. How is desire and hope related and yet subject to the individual? (23)
* Proverbs 11:23 "The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath."
* "desire" -The Hebrew word for "desire" is "taawa". This verse has the same theme as 10:24 and 28. 10:24 is the reciprocal for the desire of the righteous is compared to the dreads of the wicked. 10:28 is a similitude the prospects of the righteous is compared to the hope of the wicked, each with slightly different results than 11:23.
* "ends only in good" -In 10:28 the prospect of the righteous is joy.
* "hope" -The Hebrew word for "hope" is "tiqua" and can also be translated as "expectation" meaning "the thing that I long for".
* ends... "only in wrath." -The Hebrew word for "wrath" is "ebra" and can also be translated as "rage", "anger", and "fury". "Ebra" is the feminine of "eber". "Ebra" and "eber" are outbursts of righteous passion.
* "The desire of the righteous ends only in good" (23). I seek that which ends in good. Then meditate to determine and understand what I really desire. Meditate on the righteous. Am I righteous? Do I desire as a righteous man or a religious man? The two are not the same for God determines righteousness not as men and women do. If God has determined that I am righteous then my desire is as he desires and that ends only in good.
The end being good does not mean that the beginning or anywhere in the middle will always be what I consider good. The suffering of Christ was not good physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yet, it ended in his resurrection glory and the resurrection and glory of those who believe in him. The desire of Jesus ends in good.
"The hope of the wicked ends only in wrath" (23). I do not seek the wrath of God. Then meditate to determine and understand my hope and expectations. Meditate on the wicked. Am I wicked? Do I desire as a wicked man or a shrewd steward? The two are not the same for Jesus taught his followers to be shrewd (Matthew 10:16; Luke 16:8) If God has determined that I am wicked then my hope is not as he hopes and that ends only in his fury.
>How is the paradox in verse 24 possible?
* Proverbs 11:24 "One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty."
* "One man gives freely"
* "yet gains even more"
* "another withholds unduly"
* "comes to poverty."
>What does it mean to be generous and refresh others and what does this imply about God?
* Proverbs 11:25 "A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed."
* "A generous man"
* "will prosper"
* "he who refreshes others"
* "will himself be refreshed."
* "The one who freely gives gains even more", "The generous one will prosper", and "The one refreshing another will be refreshed". These nonsensical proverbs are made true through God.
What makes a person freely refresh others? What gladly loosens tired purse strings? What causes a hand to willingly give rather than take? Love for others and fear of God. The greatest of these is love. Love is nonsensical to fallen man and wisdom from God.
I can think of a few people to who I will freely give anything including my life; a woman who I made a covenant with before God and my children. There are some people that I would be hesitant to freely give, and some that I would not give. Yet this is not how God does. "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) God gave freely to those who declared him an enemy. Jesus' Father in heaven "causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45)
>9. How can verse 26 be applied to modern business?
* Proverbs 11:26 "People curse the man who hoards grain, but blessing crowns him who is willing to sell."
* "People curse the man who hoards grain,"
* "blessing crowns him who is willing to sell."
* Hoarding is our tight dress or a shirt and straight pants that are hidden in the back of our soul closet. Hoarding is a matching outfit with coveting. Hoarding comes out of the closet when scarcity arrives in our neighborhood. The hidden hoarding outfit is put on in times of social need. We put it on and look in the mirror believing that we are sexy and alluring. Yet our neighbors curse the person who hoards when they are in need, especially to raise prices.
Blessing crowns the person who is willing to sell. Jesus taught, "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else's property, who will give you property of your own?" (Luke 16:9-12)
>What life choices are compared in verse 27?
* Proverbs 11:27 "He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it."
* "He who seeks good finds goodwill"
* "evil comes to him who searches for it."
* Good and goodwill, what are they? What I consider good and goodwill another will not. Jesus defined goodwill as doing to others as I want others to do with me. All have a secret desire for love and respect. Some may want love more than respect while others may desire respect more than love. Women want to be loved more than respected and men want to be respected more than loved, especially when in a covenant relationship before God.
A husband that seeks good - disposition; benevolence; kindness. - towards his wife in the love she craves from him will find her giving goodwill towards him. A wife that seeks good - disposition; benevolence; kindness. - towards her husband in the respect he craves from her will find her giving goodwill towards him.
"A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh... However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband." (Ephesians 5:31,33)
Yet very bad comes to the one who searches for it, especially in a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. A spouse that seeks to serve themselves instead of their bonded partner will not find goodwill. They have invited evil into their bed, pain that will eat their soul, mind, and spirit. I will seek to love.
>What does it mean to trust in riches and what does the righteous trust in? (28)
* Proverbs 11:28 "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."
* "Whoever trusts in his riches will fall"
* "the righteous will thrive like a green leaf."
* Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Some say trust is earned and this is true to a degree for many degrees of trust exist. Trust is a mental decision. I trust more than I know. I trust all kinds of devices will work when I use them.; my automobile, my house keys, my computer, etc. I also have varying degrees of trust in people.
Trust is not the same as faith. Faith comes from a belief system and is therefore permanent. Trust does not come from a belief system. Whereas, I have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him. I trust that the food I just made will taste good. I hope it will taste and smell excellent when I start cooking it. However, I have faith that Jesus will come again and finish what he started.
Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. The righteous thrive because they have faith in God; his love, his truth, his commitment, and his mercy. Those who trust in riches will find that, as Jesus warned, "...thieves steal, will rot, decrease in value, and run out."
>10. What does verse 29 teach about how to interact with family members no matter how they interact with us?
* Proverbs 11:29 "He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise."
* "brings trouble"
* "will inherit only wind"
* "the fool will be servant to the wise."
* The inheritance of Levi and Simeon was affected because of their cruelty against Shechem (Genesis 34:25-30; 49:7) Proverbs 15:27a says, "A greedy man brings trouble to his family..." Achan's whole family perished because of his greed at Jericho (Joshua 7:24-26) and Ananias and his wife Sapphira died because of their greed shortly after Jesus' ascension (Acts 5).
>What is the tree of life and what does it mean to win souls?
* Proverbs 11:30 "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise."
* "The fruit of the righteous" -The play on the words "fruit" and "tree of life" being together the theme of blessings that come from a good character that produces righteous life choices.
* "tree of life" -The tree of life was at the center of the garden that the Lord planted for Adam and Eve as is recored in Genesis. The tree of life is seen again in Revelations when the Lord God restores all things.
* "he who wins souls" -Winning souls has become a common term during the church age. The meaning being that because of our witness about Jesus to others their souls are won to his kingdom as he commanded.
* In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, God had a family plan. "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'" (Genesis 1:28) "Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain." (Genesis 4:1) Cain killed his younger brother Able and brought trouble to his family. He was driven from the Lord's presence. (Genesis 4:13-14) The fool became a servant to the wise son of Adam and Eve, Seth.
In the beginning, when Jesus created the Church, my Lord had a family plan. He blessed them and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you ...you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. " (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) He who wins souls is wise.
The apostles planted a seed in Ananias and his wife Sapphira and they believed in the name of the Lord. then Ananias and Saphira lied to the Holy Spirit and kept for themselves some of the money they received from the sale of land for they pretended to give all to the church as a gift. (Acts 5:1-4) Ananias and Sapphira brought trouble to their church family. He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind. The fruit of the righteous is the tree of life. Be careful to ensure the financial welfare of the family, not me.
>Do the righteous and wicked receive their due on earth?
* Proverbs 11:31 "If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!"
* "If the righteous receive their due on earth"
* "how much more the ungodly and the sinner!"
* God is alive and active on earth. The principles that God set at the creation of the world are still in place. This is why there are consequences for decisions made and actions taken. It does matter if a person is righteous or ungodly and the sinner; ramifications exist and natural processes flow to their outcome.
This weekend I was afraid that a friend was about to spill a glass of iced tea and lemonade as we ate a fine evening meal. So I quickly reached for the glass, only to knock it over myself. The day before I was moving about the kitchen in the early Friday morning and caused a glass of chocolate milk to fall and shatter on the kitchen sink. Then on the last day of the weekend, I noticed a cushion on the couch my friend was seated on was moving towards a stand with a coffee resting on it. I reach to stop it from spilling over and, yes you guessed it, I knocked it over. Action and reaction, consequences and circumstances exist for all.
Does this apply to all Biblical laws? Yes. Do cause and effect bear out evenly from one person to the next? No. Do ramifications nullify grace and mercy? No. Does every act receive its just reward and punishment on earth? No. Is a judgment to come thus not needed? No. If a righteous person sins, is there no punishment and loss of reward on earth? No. (1 Peter 4:17-18; Luke 23:31) If a sinner suddenly does what is right and just will good come to their lives? Yes. If a sinner does not change their ways, will their life continue to spiral into a pit of misery and anguish? Yes. Therefore, stand in awe of God and sin not. Go about doing good unto others. When I sin, fall on the mercy of God, perhaps he will soften the blow of cause and effect.