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blog meditation Proverbs

Meditation Proverbs 11d

19 Truly the righteous attain life, but whoever pursues evil finds death. 20 The LORD detests those whose hearts are perverse, but he delights in those whose ways are blameless. 21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free. 22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. 23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath. 24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. (Prov. 11:19-24 NIV)

19 Truly the righteous attain life,

but whoever pursues evil finds death.

It is abundantly clear that there are only two ways to live, the righteous way and the evil way.  The way of righteousness leads to life and the way of evil leads to death.  The two ways are ways that people participate in.  The righteous one is steadfast in pursuing righteousness but the evil one pursues evil.  The evil person follows hard after evil and they will eventually find death.

20 The LORD detests those whose hearts are perverse,

but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.

We often hear people say that the Lord hates sin but loves the sinner.  The Lord detests the sinner and the sin.  Sin is not an external attachment; it arises out of our corrupt hearts.  It is an indication of the nature of God, His grace and mercy, that He would love detestable and sinful people.  Christ is not the substitute for sin, He is the substitute for sinners.  It is shameful that, even after we have been converted, we still harbour perverse ways and sin against God.  The Lord delights in those whose ways are blameless.  We have been made blameless in Christ. 

21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,

but those who are righteous will go free.

Many feel that they have got away with all kinds of behaviour.  Dictators have murdered thousands of their citizens.  Powerful people have imprisoned anyone who dares to criticise them.  Religious leaders have acted cruelly towards those who don’t keep the religious rules.  The Teacher reassures us that this wicked behaviour will not go unpunished.  Sometimes that punishment comes in their lifetime, but they will face God in the next life.  Freedom comes to the righteous.  This freedom is won for them through the death of Jesus Christ.

22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.

The pig wasn’t held in high regard.  It was thought of as an unclean and ugly animal.  It would be completely unthinkable to put a valuable gold ring in a pig’s nose.  The point is how ludicrous to think that you could make a pig look beautiful by putting a ring in its nose.  A pig with a gold nose ring looks out of place, just like a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.  The idea behind the words ‘no discretion’ is lacking in taste.  A person, either male or female can look quite attractive and pleasant only to let themselves down when they speak.  Their speech shows a lack of taste.

23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good,

but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.

The desires and expectation that the righteous have is that their actions and speech are intended to do people good and do themselves good.  The wrath mentioned here is not the wrath of God.  The meaning must be taken from the antithetic parallelism (contrast) in the verse.  The wicked person’s desired outcome of their speech and actions is wrath.  The outcome is like arrogance mixed with anger, always sowing trouble.  When we are planning what we are going to say to someone do we intend good or harm?

24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;

another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

The Teacher speaks in praise of those who are generous.  It is generally true that a generous person has more, and that a person who holds back what they could easily give has less. 

Prayer

Lord help us to seek the good of others always.  Help us not to plan speeches or conversations that are designed to do others harm.  Help us to be tasteful in our conversations and pursue righteousness rather than that which is perverse.  We ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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