“With their mouths the godless would destroy their neighbours,
but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.”
~Proverbs 11:9 (NRSV).
As the contrastive proverbs continue from where they commenced in Proverbs 10, there is a sense of the wonder in Proverbs’ imagery coming to life again in this chapter. Gold rings in pigs ears (verse 22), the tree of life (verse 30), and weighing scales (verse 1) season Proverbs 11 nicely.
Integrity’s a Must
Hewn into the timber of Proverbs is the idea of integrity, and in the case of latter Proverbs 10 and all of chapter 11, the subject of righteousness is seen fashioned into the woodwork of its wisdom.
Righteousness at some points gets a bad rap simply because many people read it as ‘self-righteous’ which is pride run awry. Instead, however, these proverbs provide an ornate picture of the character of true righteousness, which is the humility of integrity woven into the interactions of life.
This is one of the beauties of the contrastive proverb—it shows us both positive and negative consequences for our actions.
Direction for the Path to Life
“Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.”
~Proverbs 11:14 (Msg).
Many find the path to life and to God through obscure and even oblique means. Indeed, most do. It is no straightforward adventure, this thing called life. In theory it is, but then the theory is easier studied than lived out.
The way life is it’s pointing us to God.
One way for us to know God’s will and way for ourselves within our own affairs is to have the integrity of humility to trust trusted others for their input as it pertains to our lives.
The diligent seeker is seeking not so much the approval of others, but confirmation that their plans and actions are favoured (verse 27). Looking for confirmation of the good way delivered is not the same as seeking approval.
Reaching the Spiritual Precipice
When we truly begin to consider that the way to a rightful spirituality is via the avenue of others, and how our interactions with others (and with God) are contending in parallel with our personal journey, we’re at last motivated to invest freely in each of our interactions, knowing that resentment gets us nowhere and quickly at that.
We see here that integrity, righteousness and humility are only tested in the midst of our relationships with others and the turning of life’s wheel; our coming and going about in the world. Tough as that is at times, it’s so often true.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.