1 The LORD detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favour with him. 2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. 3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. 4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. 5 The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. 6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires. (Prov. 11:1-6 NIV)
1 The LORD detests dishonest scales,
but accurate weights find favour with him.
There is something quite earthy about the Proverbs. A set of scales that are fiddled with to give short measure to a customer doesn’t seem much related to godliness. The God with whom we have to do can never be dealt with in an antiseptic theological laboratory as a speciality of heaven, but only on earth. God doesn’t take shortcuts to heaven, bypassing our troublesome humanity. God detests the kind of practice that is essentially stealing from our neighbours. Godliness is very practical, possibility more practical than we would wish it to be. God detests any kind of dishonest business practice. Accurate weights – meaning honesty in our dealings – find favour with the Lord. Basically, this proverb is bringing together the two fundamental commandments, love God and love your neighbour. Dealing honestly with our neighbour brings the Lord’s favour.
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
Pride manifests itself when we are full of ourselves and our abilities rather than acknowledging our need of God. Pride leads to disgrace because when we are depending upon ourselves, we are bound to fail. There is something so unsavoury about pride that when others see it in us they will not readily overlook our mistakes. The humble person is one who is submissive, modest in spirit, and well aware of their own limitations. That really amounts to an honest assessment of oneself and that accurate assessment is a wise one.
3 The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.
Integrity is moral wholeness or completeness. When we are in a proper relationship with God we become more the human that God intended us to be. The wisdom that God gives through His word is hidden in our hearts and changes us, making us people of integrity. That God-given wisdom guides us through life. The unfaithful use dishonest speech, saying one thing but intending something different. This duplicitous behaviour eventually destroys them. This duplicity could be manifest by being unfaithful in our relationships, unfaithful to agreements that we have made and ultimately, we could be unfaithful in our relationship with God. Any time we do not love our neighbour we are not loving God.
4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
Whether the wealth here is acquired by proper or improper means is not the issue. Wealth is not inherently evil. The problem here is the dependence upon wealth. When we feel that we can buy our way to get what we want we have placed more trust in our wealth than we should. The only hope for anyone in the day of wrath is to be sheltered in Christ. Salvation is the only thing that we can take with us through death, the rest is left behind. The righteousness of Christ is what delivers us.
5 The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight,
but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.
The way we live our lives either complicates it or simplifies it. If we walk the way that God intended us to, life will be a lot less complicated. When we sin, we introduce a lot of complications into our lives. People today claim the freedom to live whatever way they please and they don’t want to be dictated to by other people or any God. They convince themselves that they have freedom and liberty, and that culture has advanced to be more tolerant. But sin and sinful behaviour is not positive and we get brought down by our own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.
The right way to live is the wise way to live, and righteousness delivers us in this life and will be the only thing that delivers us in the life to come. Sin never liberates, it traps a person and they become a slave to their evil desires.
Lord God forgive us for being lazy when it comes to hiding Your word in our hearts. Help us to love righteousness and hate evil. Help us to remove all evil words, thoughts and actions from our lives. Help us to love You and our neighbours because we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.