The book of Proverbs is a collection of short and wise principles for living from some of the wisest men who ever lived. Why is this book important? God designed the universe out of His great wisdom and understanding. The universe reflects His wisdom. We need wisdom to live lives that will successfully work in this God-created universe.
The subject of Proverbs is wisdom. Wisdom is knowledge that is properly applied to a situation. First you have to know the right information, but then you have to apply it correctly. There is an essential prerequisite for wisdom: yirat Adonai – the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A human being must know that God exists, and who the true God, the God of Israel is, that He is the Supreme Being, great and powerful and wise, righteous and just, and He judges the righteous and wicked, rewards the righteous and punishes the bad. In addition, since God the Father sent Messiah the Son, to be wise, a human being must accept Yeshua as the Messiah, and receive the Holy Spirit, and be saved.
Some human beings are wise about the way that the world works, but are ignorant of the ways of God. Some human beings are knowledgeable about spiritual things – about God and Messiah and salvation, but not wise about the way the world works. Proverbs helps us to be wise in the ways of God, and wise in the ways of the world. The spiritual world and the physical world meet in a special way here on Earth. Heaven is where God’s throne is at, but Earth is His footstool. Man is a combination of physical and spiritual. He is made from the dust of the Earth, but also the Lord breathed into him the breathe of life. Proverbs has wisdom for both successful spiritual life and successful physical life. It helps us to be well rounded, balanced, successful human beings.
11:1 A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. A false balance is a weighing device that is rigged to give a false outcome. If you wanted to buy something, but the person that you were buying from was using a false balance, you were being cheated. You would wind up paying too much or be given too little. This kind of theft is abhorred by the Lord, who is full of truth, integrity, righteousness, fairness, equity. We are to be people of integrity in our words, and people who are honest and fair in our economic and business dealings.
We don’t use balances much in the modern world, but there are other ways of cheating to amount to much the same. When the government goes off the gold and silver standard, and then is free to create money backed by nothing, and greatly expand the money supply, which our government has been doing since 1971, it is a kind of false balances. When the government also changes the ways it reports economic numbers so as to under-report inflation (the real rate of inflation is around 7%), and which means that the real rate of growth of the economy is basically zero, or less – which means we are getting poorer as a nation); when the government over-estimates the amount of jobs really being produced, which it has been doing, it is a kind of false balances. When the government goes into debt at an obscene rate, so that present goods and services are being paid for by our children and grandchildren, that is a kind of false balance. Protect yourself from these false balances by storing you wealth in real money: gold and silver.
11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom. It’s ironic. People who are proud, who want people to think highly of them, more highly than they are actually worthy of; people who seek for status and recognition begin acting in ways that will remove honor from them and bring them dishonor. They treat others poorly, they become selfish, they make bad decisions based on their desire for status. The humble, those who fear the Lord, and know that every breathe that they breath, and every beat of their heart is totally dependant on the goodness and mercy of God, that the Lord made them the way they are, with their gifts, talents, abilities and opportunities; those who aren’t concerned with status and the praise of men and exalting themselves over others, have better values and make better decisions. They are wise, and with wisdom eventually comes honor!
11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them. It is wise and best to choose to be a person who is upright, who is straight, who plays by the rules, and a person of integrity, of good character, of morality and high ethics. Your choice to be a man or woman of integrity will guide you into good decisions. When you are confronted by situations where the choice is to cut corners, make a quick and easy but shady buck, cheat on your spouse; or take the better but harder path of honesty and hard work, you will know what to do. Your prior decision to be a person of integrity will guide you into making the right decision.
On the other hand the bog-deem, the treacherous, the unfaithful, are destroyed by their duplicity and crookedness. Don’t allow yourself to become a person who engages in selef – duplicity, a person who is deceitful in speech or conduct, who lies, who misleads, who says one thing but does another, who publicly is one way but privately another. Don’t become someone who overthrows good things, who overturns good ways, good values, good morals, good ethics, someone who turn away from good ways, and stops following the right course. Those who deal falsely, those who are faithless, those who destroy what is good and right, will themselves be destroyed.
11:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Know the limits of money. Money can buy some things, but there are many things, many of the most important things, that money can’t buy. Money can’t buy happiness. Money can’t always buy protection. In a day of wrath, when you find yourself with an earthly enemy attacking you and about to kill you, or, even worse, on a day when the righteous anger of God is destroying those who continue to rebel against Him, your money will not help you. Know the limits of money, and don’t make money your highest priority.
11:5 The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. The wise and good Creator has designed the universe in such a way that it cooperates with the right actions, the good deeds, the honorable intentions and the honest words of the tah-meem – the blameless, those men and women of integrity and honesty who function the way the Creator designed mankind to function. But the very same universe conspires against the wicked. His wickedness, his evil, his twisting of God’s laws will cause his own downfall. He is undermining his own well being. He is digging his own hole that he will fall into. He is building his own snare that will catch him. Like Haman, he is building a gallows on which he will be hung.
11:6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the treacherous will be caught by their own greed. The upright, the y’shar-eem, those who are straight and true, who know the true God, and who follow down the straight and narrow path that He has laid down for us, who don’t twist the truth about God and Scripture, who don’t corrupt morals, who live lives of integrity – their righteousness, being in a right relationship with their God, and then consistently doing the right things, and pleasing the Lord in all respects, will deliver them. They will escape from many of the difficulties and bad consequences that others will experience. They will be rescued from many of the unpleasant experiences that others will go through. But the bog-deem, the treacherous, the unfaithful, those who improperly use things – things like themselves, their sexuality, their money, their relationships with other people, those who brings themselves and others into a less good condition, will not be delivered from the problems they make. They will not escape from the consequences they are creating for themselves and for others. They will be caught by their greed, by their evil desires, by their lust. Because they are unwilling to give up their desires for the wrong things, because they refuse to give up their perverse pleasures, their improper use of sexuality, because they won’t stay within proper bounds of law, moral, sexual behavior, proper use of money; because they refuse to abandon their wrong ideas of God, religion, truth, morality, they will be caught by a God-created universe that won’t forever tolerate such wrongness.
They are like the hungry monkey who puts his hand in a jar with a narrow top in order to steal some nuts. Suddenly a leopard comes, and the monkey needs to climb a tree to escape. If only he would let go of the nuts, he could remove his hand from the jar and escape in time! But he is greedy with desire for those delicious nuts he wants to steal and eat, and because of his greed he won’t let go of the nuts, and his hand won’t come out of the jar, and without his hand he can’t climb the tree, and so he is caught and is killed. What kind of jar is your hand in? What kind of nuts are you trying to steal? Won’t you, with the help of God, and the knowledge that comes to you from the Word of God, let them go?
11:7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of strong men perishes. What does the wicked person, the person who refuses to become godly, who will not do things God’s way – what does he hope for? He hopes for many things – good things and bad things. He wants continued independence, but he will find that he must submit to the law, the power, the authority, the will, the judgment, the punishment of an offended God. He wants control and domination and power over others, but he will find himself completely weak and powerless over himself and over his own fate. He will have no control over himself or others. He wants status, he wants praise, he wants to feel good about himself, but there is no status in Hell, no praise from demons or sinners. He wants happiness, but he will experience only unhappiness. There is no joy in the Lake of Fire. He wants life. He wants to live, to be, to exist, but his life itself I believe will eventually perish.
Don’t go that way! You will be terribly disappointed. Your hopes will be crushed, your expectations come to nothing. Can you imagine the disappointment of those who have ignored God, continued in the rebellion against the good King of the Universe, when they understand what they have lost? What they could have had if they had turned to the living God, and yielded their lives to the service of the great King, but no longer have that option, and only the outer darkness and the Lake of Fire is in store for them? Can you possibly imagine the sense of regret? The sense of loss? The weeping, the anguish, the horror?
11:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, but the wicked takes his place. This God-created universe is designed in such a way that it helps the righteous – those who are right with God, those who are in a right relationship with the Holy Creator, those who are following His wise principles for living. They will save themselves from tzah-rah, from tzuris, from trouble. But, the opposite is true for the wicked – the man who is guilty of violating God’s standards, who causes the Lord and man trouble, will cause himself trouble. You want a trouble-free life? Get right with God, and then start living the right way and doing the right things! You want trouble? You enjoy trouble? Then remain alienated from the Creator from whom you are estranged. Don’t accept His gracious offer of atonement and reconciliation by placing your faith in the wonderful Messiah that He sent to rescue Jews and Gentiles, the Savior who came from Heaven to Earth, died on a cross, came back to life, thereby showing that God approved of everything that He said, everything that He did, that He is sinless and able to reconcile us to God, and rescue and deliver us, and save us from the worst troubles – sin, death, Hell.
11:10-11 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting. By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down. Morality and government, religion and politics can’t be separated. That was never the intention of the founding fathers. They understood and repeatedly stated that this republic must be supported by Christian values. They were moral men, and most of them deeply religious Christians. Half of the Continental Congress were pastors!
When it goes well with the righteous and the upright, the straight and true, when they are flourishing, when their godly values are the most influential factors in the city, state or nation when the wise principles that they advocate are put into practice, the blessing of God comes to that city, state or nation.
I like that expression, “the blessing of the upright.” Because they have chosen to follow the Lord’s ways, in this God-designed universe good results happen. Good things happen as a direct result of their uprightness. And, the Lord adds His support, His blessing. The Lord does good things to that city, that state, that nation, and the people are exalted. They advance higher and higher in wisdom, morality, justice, proper living, and often prosperity. The people are better off. They are happier. This is exactly what happened in the United States from our beginning until the 1960s. But, since the early 1960s, the mouth of the wicked has been heard more than the voice of upright, and the nation is being torn down.
Be righteous yourself, and extend your influence. Speak up. Write letters. Talk to people. Teach others. Using music, art, drama, the media, let the truth and good values be known. Vote for righteous men and women. Those with good values must influence their society. They must get involved in politics, and help govern the city, the state, the nation according to the will of God. If the righteous don’t get involved; if they think that politics is too dirty, or not important, then guess who will take control and exert their godless values?
11:14 Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory. Life in this fallen world, on this planet that is under the influence of the Prince of Darkness, a world that is confused and chaotic, it is important to get good advice. This is important for local, state and national governments. A wise leader surrounds himself with knowledgeable and wise and competent men and women who can give him good advice. And, the same principle is true for an individual. There are times in your life that you will need guidance.
If you are a child of God, and if you lack wisdom, you can pray to God the Father, who is generous with wisdom, and is willing to give it to you. You have the Son of God, who is the Wonderful Counselor, who is full of the wisdom of God and is able to give you the best counsel and the wisest advice for every situation. You have the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth, the precious Holy Spirit as your personal guide, who will guide you into the truth that you need. You have the Holy Scriptures, which are full of wisdom and understanding. You have godly pastors and rabbis and elders who know the Lord and His Word, and how the world works, and can advise you! You are truly blessed and surrounded with wisdom!
11:15 He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it, but he who hates being a guarantor is secure. This is a teaching on the wise use of your money. Be very careful who you promise to cover a debt for. Be careful who you co-sign a loan with. I would say that you should be careful who you loan money to. Be careful who you trust with your possessions. Very often there are reasons why a person doesn’t have enough money to accomplish what he wants to do, and needs a loan or someone to guarantee a loan. Sometimes they are people of good character, but simply have been though hard times and difficult circumstances that could happen to anyone. But, there are many people of bad character who don’t care about honesty or integrity or their obligation to make sure that they repay their loans. Sometimes people don’t have money because they don’t know how to save; or they haven’t been careful with their money; or they don’t want to save – they don’t want to delay present gratification for their future good. Since they are unwilling to defer present pleasures in order to have future gains, they won’t find ways to consume less and save more, and then put the savings into good investments.
11:16 A gracious woman attains honor, and ruthless men attain riches. Women, girls, don’t try to be honored by being like hard-hearted, tough, mean, uncompassionate men! We have too many people like that in the world already! God’s woman is a gracious woman; a woman who is kindhearted; and woman who is compassionate, who is loving and helps those around her; a woman who directs her feminine, nurturing nature, not just to her family, but to all those around her. She is the woman, the young lady, who is truly worthy of respect.
And ruthless men attain riches. This satanically dominated and falle