Welcome, let’s dive in to Proverbs 11. It can be broken in to 4 Major Sections: What God Likes and Dislikes (11:1-21) Beauty & Discretion (11:22), Generosity and Selfishness (11: 23-27) and Life and Wealth (11:28-31).
What God Like and Dislikes
In 11:1–21 a group of proverb collections are connected by “the Lord abhors or detest” and “he delights.” Two major themes of this section are dishonest gain and the sin of slander.
(11:1–4). Verse 1 describes God’s abhorrence of fraud, and v. 4 answers it with the promise that the wrongfully gained wealth will do them no good in the Day of Judgment. Between these verses vv. 2–3 assert that humility and integrity, rather than their opposites, are the best guides in life.
God delights in “accurate weights” (weights that are as heavy as they should be and not lightened for purposes of fraud); the arrogant, however, have no dignity at all but only disgrace (literally “lightness”). Both false weights and arrogant people claim to be “heavier” than they really are. This series of proverbs links arrogance to fraud and deceit while linking humility to moral integrity. Sins do not come in isolation but in clusters. Someone who thinks only of self and has no regard for others can easily resort to cheating in business affairs.
(11:5–6) In both verses the punishment fits the crime. God’s justice is not only appropriate but is also ironic.
(11:7–8). These verses assert that God brings destruction to the wicked and promise of eternal life to the righteous.
(11:9–13) In v. 9 the righteous escape verbal attacks unharmed by following the teachings of wisdom, and according to v. 12, without having to resort to a counterattack. But the wicked can only spread vicious gossip. In this context the joy of the city at the death of the wicked has the meaning that its people will finally be free of their their destructive words. .
11:13 The wicked are not only spiteful with their words, but they also are careless and cannot be trusted. The wise not only refrain from lies and slander, but they also know how to keep a matter private.
(11:14–15) The first involves national matters where the second concerns personal business. Seeking advice from many counselors can avert disaster. A ruler or governor can squander the resources of a nation or city as easily as an individual can waste personal assets.
*One person’s perspective and understanding is severely limited; he or she may not have all the facts or may be blinded by bias, emotions, or wrong impressions. To be a wise leader at home, at church, or at work, seek the counsel of others and be open to their advice. Then, after considering all the facts, make your decision.
(11:16–17 A “kindhearted woman” against a “ruthless man” is significant. Many men seek to establish themselves and earn respect through their accomplishments; the kindhearted woman personifies the somewhat more feminine trait of placing relationships above career and achievements.
(11:18–19). The wages of sin are deceptive in that they are short-lived and misleading, but the wages of righteousness are permanent. “Life” in v. 19 therefore implies eternal life. Both patterns of behavior have their own outcome and reward. Righteousness leads to life (which would include long life, emotional health, and posterity) while evil leads to death (the demise of one’s estate, family, and self). Both “life” and “death” have everlasting implications as well.
(11:20–21). God’s attitude toward individuals (disgust/pleasure) in v. 20 corresponds to the outcome of their lives (inescapable trouble/deliverance) in v. 21. The language in v. 21 is judicial language in that the evil are convicted (“not go unpunished”) but the righteous acquitted (“go free”).
Beauty & Discretion
(11:22) The point of the comparison is that in both cases beauty is in an inappropriate place. Physical attractiveness without discretion soon wears thin. We are to seek those character strengths that help us make wise decisions, not just those that make us look good. Not everyone who looks good is pleasant to live or work with. While taking good care of our body and appearance is not wrong, we also need to develop our ability to think.
Generosity and Selfishness
(11:23–27). It is obvious that greedy and selfish people, (like Mr. Scrooge) are disliked by most people while generous people gain love and respect. What the hoarder fails to realize, however, is that in the economy of God the greedy ultimately lose even the material things they try so hard to keep while the generous only prosper more and more. God deals with us the way we deal with others.
*These two verses present a paradox: that we become richer by being generous. The world says to hold on to as much as possible, but God blesses those who give freely of their possessions, time, and energy. When we give, God supplies us with more so that we can give more. In addition, giving helps us gain a right perspective on our possessions. We realize they were never really ours to begin with, but they were given to us by God to be used to help others. What then do we gain by giving? Freedom from enslavement to our possessions, the joy of helping others, and God’s approval
Life and Wealth
(11:28 –11:31). These verses teach that life and health for both individual and family is obtained by virtue and submission to God. Violent or selfish activity is sure to be punished, however, and even wealth affords no security. These verses also indicate that a man cannot provide for the security of his family through any means that violate basic principles of right and wrong. Rather than focus his attention on making as much money as possible, he must conduct his life with integrity. Because God is directly involved in the matter of punishing the evil and rewarding the good.
Until tomorrow, Darrell