“With their mouths the godless would destroy their neighbors, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.” ~Proverbs 11:9 (NRSV)
As the contrastive proverbs continue on from Proverbs 10, there’s a sense of the wonder in Proverbs’ imagery coming to life again. 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
Woven through Proverbs is the idea of integrity, and in the case of latter Proverbs 10 and all of chapter 11, the subject of righteousness.
Righteousness at some points gets a bad report simply because many people perceive it as ‘self-righteous’ which is pride run awry. Instead, these proverbs provide a picture of the character of true righteousness, which is the humility of integrity within 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)
Most find the path to life and to God through obscure and even oblique means. It’s no straightforward adventure, this thing called life. In theory it is, but it’s easier studied than lived out.
The way life is it’s pointing us to God.
One means for us to know God’s will and way for ourselves, within our own affairs, is to have the integrity of humility to rely on trusted others for their input as it pertains to our lives.
The diligent seeker is seeking not 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 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. This is acknowledging that resentment gets us nowhere.
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. Tough as that is at times, it’s often true.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
This article is an excerpt from my book, Grow In GOD. All author proceeds from this book go to Compassion