Home Library Donate

Proverbs 11

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 22, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular: 2900 words  Communion: 2500 words Video=75wpm

Video: The Bible Project – Proverbs Introduction

Video: Proverbs Introduction

Announce:  Servant School in two weeks – “Calvary Chapel Distinctives” - $8 for the book.

This Thursday is movie night: “Luther” – in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom.

Wisdom is not about knowing facts.

Wisdom is about knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is knowing when to do it.
Wisdom is knowing how to do it.

We are now in a new section of the book of Proverbs.

We’ve finished the “mini-lectures” that Solomon gave to his son in the first nine chapters.

The rest of the book are what we typically call the “proverbs”.

Proverbs are sayings, typically short, that give wisdom and insight into everyday things.

They are intended to help you lead a better life.

They are not absolute promises, as in “if you do x,y, and z your life will be perfect”.

They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be generally better than if you didn’t do them.

I want to encourage you to have a pencil or pen ready as we work through each chapter.

I am not going to take time to stop and unpack every single proverb, or we’d be in Proverbs for the next ten years.

God may want to use one of the proverbs that we simply pass over to speak to you, so be ready to mark up your Bible or write down a verse.

It’s going to be a little like drinking from a fire hydrant.

The Proverbs are Hebrew poetry…

Hebrew poetry is about ideas, not sounds.

Most of these proverbs are in two lines.

Sometimes the second line is a parallel of the first. It expresses the same idea with different words.
Sometimes the second line is an opposite idea, still clarifying the first, but by way of contrast.
Be careful that you don’t look at one phrase without looking at the other.

Proverbs 11

:1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.

:1 Dishonest scales are an abomination

Dishonestmirmah – deceit, treachery

abominationtow’ebah – a disgusting thing, abomination

delightratsown – pleasure, delight, favour, goodwill, acceptance, will

There are other things in Scripture that are also called “abominations”
(Leviticus 18:22 NKJV) You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
(Deuteronomy 7:25 NKJV) You shall burn the carved images of their gods with fire; you shall not covet the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it for yourselves, lest you be snared by it; for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.
(Proverbs 12:22 NKJV) Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
(Proverbs 16:5 NKJV) Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.


Business Ethics

In ancient days, a merchant would typically buy or sell things according to weight, using a balance scale.
A sneaky merchant would have two sets of weights, one for buying and one for selling.
Their “buying” weights would be heavier than their “selling” weights, so when they buy a pound of grain from you for a shekel, they are buying a larger quantity than when they sell someone else a pound of grain for a shekel.  That’s how they made an unfair profit.
When you visit Israel, their monetary unit is the “shekel”, similar to our “dollar”.

Yet the word “shekel” simply means “weight”. It was a standard measurement of weight, kind of like a “pound”.

Merchants would measure things using a balance scale and a set of weights.

You might buy a “hundred shekels” of wheat for “one shekel” of silver.

The merchant puts a set of weights on one side of the scale equivalent to one hundred shekels, and then measures out enough wheat on the other side of the scale until the two are balanced.

When you pay for your wheat, he would put a weight weighting one shekel on one side, and you would put your silver on the other side until they balance.

The sneakier merchants would keep two sets of weights, one for buying and one for selling.

When he was buying a “shekel” of wheat from a farmer, he’d use his heavier “shekel” weight to he could buy more wheat from the farmer.

When he’d sell his wheat, he’d use the lighter shekel weight so he could make a bigger profit by not measuring out as much wheat.

A week ago Friday Daniel and I went to the Fullerton Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and got to hear the testimony of Mark Whitacre. In 1992, Mark became the whistle blower in the nation’s largest anti-trust legal action.
The company he worked for manufactured many of the chemicals and additives in much of the food we get at the grocery store.
Video: KNXT Mark Whitacre Interview
What Mark’s company was doing was similar to the principle of “dishonest weights”. They were ripping off their customers.
God thinks this kind of business practice stinks.
God wants His people known for their honesty and integrity.
Mark would end up serving a nine-year sentence for the crimes he committed, but while he was in prison, he came to Christ.
Sometimes our cheating doesn’t come with business, but in how we simply treat others.
(James 2:1–4 NLT) —1 My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? 2 For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. 3 If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, “You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor”—well, 4 doesn’t this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives?

We should treat all people with the same “set of weights”.

Treat all people the same.

:2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.

pridezadown – pride, insolence, presumptuousness, arrogance

fromzuwd – to boil, boil up, seethe, act proudly, act presumptuously, act rebelliously, be presumptuous, be arrogant, be rebelliously proud

(Proverbs 11:2 The Message) The stuck-up fall flat on their faces, but down-to-earth people stand firm.

:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.

integritytummah – integrity

fromtom – integrity, completeness; innocence, simplicity

fromtamam – to be complete, be finished, be at an end

The sense is “blamelessness, a state of innocence”

(Proverbs 11:3 NLT) Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.

:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death.

:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath

When you stand before God on the day of judgment, your wealth isn’t going to be able to buy you out of hell.

The people of Jesus’ day struggled with this concept because they thought that if God would let anyone into heaven, it would be the wealthy people.
(Matthew 19:24–26 NKJV) —24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Jesus told a story that weaves this concept into it.

(Luke 16:19–26 NLT) —19 Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury. 20 At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores. 21 As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. 22 “Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to sit beside Abraham at the heavenly banquet. The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and he went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side. 24 “The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’ 25 “But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’
Jesus doesn’t give us the details as to how poor Lazarus ended up in paradise (Abraham’s bosom) and the rich man ended up in hell, but one thing was clear – the rich man’s wealth did nothing for him.

:4 But righteousness delivers from death

righteousnesstsedaqah – justice, righteousness



The way to escape the “day of wrath”, is connected to “righteousness”.
Righteousness is about being right with God.
The problem that man faces is that on his own, he cannot be righteous enough to avoid the judgment of God.
(Romans 3:10 NKJV) As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
God knows about this problem, and He has a solution.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

God offers to take our sin, put it on Jesus, and then take Jesus’ righteousness and give it to us.

Doesn’t that sound like a fair exchange?

This is what happened when Jesus died on the cross.

Paul told Titus,
(Titus 3:5a NKJV) not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us
God wants to offer to you this salvation, if you will only turn to Him and open your heart to Him.
(John 1:12 NKJV) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

I want to give you a chance at the end of the service to do that very thing.

:5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.

:5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright

The righteous person wants to choose the good, right, healthy path.

That’s what helps him forms his decisions.

:6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.

:6 the unfaithful will be caught by their lust

lusthavvah – desire; engulfing ruin, destruction, calamity

The word for “lust” here is more than sexual.

(Proverbs 11:6 NLT) The godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps them.

(Proverbs 11:6 HCSB) The righteousness of the upright rescues them, but the treacherous are trapped by their own desires.

:7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope of the unjust perishes.

:7 the hope of the unjust perishes

Everything the wicked man aims his life toward will eventually come to nothing.

You won’t be able to take it with you.


The Obedient Wife
There was a man who had worked all of his life, had saved all of his money, and was a real miser when it came to his money. Just before he died, he said to his wife, “When I die, I want you to take all my money and put it in the casket with me. I want to take my money to the afterlife with me.” And so he got his wife to promise him with all of her heart that when he died, she would put all of the money in the casket with him. Well, he died. He was stretched out in the casket, his wife was sitting there in black, and her friend was sitting next to her. When they finished the ceremony, just before the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said, “Wait just a minute!” She had a box with her, she came over with the box and put it in the casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket down, and they rolled it away. So her friend said, “Girl, I know you weren’t fool enough to put all that money in there with your husband.” The loyal wife replied, “Listen, I’m a Christian, I can’t go back on my word. I promised him that I was going to put that money in that casket with him.” You mean to tell me you put that money in the casket with him!!!!?” “I sure did,” said the wife. “I got it all together, put it into my account and wrote him a check. If he can cash it, he can spend it.”

:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, And it comes to the wicked instead.

:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble

This is a general principle, not an absolute rule.

Righteous people do go through difficult times.

:9 The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.

(Proverbs 11:9 The Message) The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction; the common sense of the godly preserves them.

The next two verses seem to be similar.

:10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.

:11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

:11 the blessing of the upright


Impacting the world

Jesus said we were to have an impact on the world around us.
(Matthew 5:13 NKJV) “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

Salt is a preservative. It has been used for thousands of years to keep meat from spoiling.

There’s a fun video on YouTube where an old fellow from Kentucky is showing how to cure and smoke your own ham. A process starts with smothering the meat with salt to draw out the water.

Video: Salting Curing and Smoking your own meat

God wants to work in our lives in such a way that we keep this world from spoiling.

Mark Whitacre’s wife acted like that. She pushed her husband to stop the evils of his company.

Joseph was sold to Potiphar as a slave in Egypt, but because he stayed close the Lord, God blessed Potiphar.
(Genesis 39:5 NKJV) So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field.
The prophet Jeremiah lived during the time when most of the Jews had been taken captive to Babylon. He wrote to them,
(Jeremiah 29:7 NKJV) And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
Beloved, you have an impact on your world.
You have an impact on your family, your workplace, your country.
Some of that impact comes from you doing the right things and working as hard as you can.
Some of it is simply your salty presence in a putrid world.

:12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, But a man of understanding holds his peace.

:12 devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor


Neighbor Care

Your “neighbor” is the person around you, whether it’s the guy living next door, or the guy in the cubicle next to you, or the person in line at the grocery store in front of you.
It’s stupid to “despise” your neighbor.
despisebuwz – to despise, hold in contempt, hold as insignificant
You may not understand or like things about your neighbor, but don’t despise them.
God told the nation of Israel,
(Leviticus 19:18 NKJV) You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Jesus called this the second most important commandment (Mark 12:31)

(Mark 12:31 NKJV) —31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan as an illustration of how we are to “love our neighbor”, by taking care of needs as we see them.

In following the rules of Hebrew poetry, Solomon hints that one way we can love our neighbor is keeping our mouth shut, “holding our peace”.
Don’t be quick to criticize your “neighbor”.  I find I’m usually wrong with my initial assessment and I look like a fool when I’ve been critical.

(Proverbs 11:12 NLT) It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet.

:13 A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.

This is talking about gossip.  Don’t do it.

(Proverbs 11:13 NLT) A gossip goes around telling secrets, but those who are trustworthy can keep a confidence.

:14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

counseltachbulah – direction, counsel, guidance, good advice, (wise) counsel

:14 in the multitude of counselors there is safety

We often think of “counselors” as psychologists or therapists. The word is a bit broader than that.

counselorsya’ats – to advise, consult, give counsel, purpose, devise, plan

King David has his “counselors” that would help him make decisions.

(Proverbs 11:14 NLT) Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.

When you are facing a big decision, it’s good to get multiple opinions from more than one advisor.

Some advisors may be wrong, and that’s why it’s important to have multiple opinions.

:15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But one who hates being surety is secure.

surety‘arab – to pledge, exchange, mortgage

:15 surety for a stranger

This is about co-signing on a loan for someone you don’t know very well.  Don’t do it.

:16 A gracious woman retains honor, But ruthless men retain riches.

Honor is better than wealth, so be gracious instead of ruthless.

:17 The merciful man does good for his own soul, But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.

(Proverbs 11:17 The Message) When you’re kind to others, you help yourself; when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.

You do yourself good when you show mercy.


The Speeder
A pastor was forced to stop by a traffic cop to pull over for speeding. As the cop was about to write the ticket, the pastor said to him, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The cop handed the pastor the ticket and said, “Go thou and sin no more.”

:18 The wicked man does deceptive work, But he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.

(Proverbs 11:18 NLT) Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.

:19 As righteousness leads to life, So he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.

:20 Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord, But the blameless in their ways are His delight.

(Proverbs 11:20 HCSB) Those with twisted minds are detestable to the Lord, but those with blameless conduct are His delight.

:21 Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.

:22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.

:22 a ring of gold in a swine’s snout

In Solomon’s day, women wore nose rings as a thing of beauty.

But comparing a lovely woman to a pig?
That’s quite a picture.

Rings were put in the snouts of pigs to keep them from rooting up a garden looking for food.

But who in their right mind would waste money on a gold ring for a pig?


Real Beauty

Our culture is obsessed with outward beauty.
I’m not opposed to guys and gals taking care of their outward appearance, but real beauty is more than skin deep.
Real beauty involves “discretion”
discretionta‘am – taste, judgment
David encountered a gal named Abigail who was married to a jerk named Nabal.
Abigail was a smart woman who was also beautiful (1Sam. 25:3).

(1 Samuel 25:3 NKJV) —3 The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb.

David’s army had been protecting Nabal’s flocks, but instead of showing gratitude, Nabal insulted and threatened David. David got so angry he was going to kill Nabal, but Abigail stepped in and smoothed things over with David. David realized Abigail had saved him from doing something stupid and foolish. He told her:

(1 Samuel 25:33 NKJV) And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.

Abigail showed discretion (“advice” / ta’am) by acting wisely to keep David from doing something foolish.

Anybody can be made to look beautiful on the outside.
Inner beauty is much harder to come by.

(1 Peter 3:3–4 NLT) —3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.

There’s a warning here for those of you who are attracted only to outer beauty.
It takes time to get to know what a person is like on the inside. If you rush your relationships, you might end up with a pig and a nose ring.

:23 The desire of the righteous is only good, But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

(Proverbs 11:23 NLT) —23 The godly can look forward to a reward, while the wicked can expect only judgment.

I think the next three verses all deal with the same issue…

:24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, But it leads to poverty.

:25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.

:26 The people will curse him who withholds grain, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.

:25 The generous soul will be made rich


Carefully Generous

God wants His people to be carefully generous.
Careful in that you probably shouldn’t be giving to every single person who has their hand out.
Generous in that we give as God would prompt us.

(Proverbs 19:17 NKJV) He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.

Video: Elderly Woman Witnesses to robber

:27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But trouble will come to him who seeks evil.

:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like foliage.

:29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.

:29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind

Yes, that play “Inherit the Wind” you had to read in high school was named after this verse, but that’s another story.

“Inherit the Wind” was the name of the play written in 1955 about the Scopes’ “Monkey Trial” back in the 1920s that pitted creation versus evolution. The author of the play wasn’t trying to give an accurate historical account of the trial, but was using it as a metaphor to criticize contemporary McCarthy communism trials.

The play is not an accurate account of the Scopes Trial.
The author was trying to make a statement about intellectual freedom, and hinting that Senator Joseph McCarthy was troubling the nation with his anti-communist crusade.

The principle is about how you treat your family.

(Proverbs 11:29 The Message) Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air; common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.
Some of you might think that your family deserves to be abused a little for what they put you through. Don’t do it.

:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.

:31 If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the ungodly and the sinner.

:30 he who wins souls is wise

This might be talking about helping people become friends with wisdom.

I can’t help but think that it’s equally wise to win souls by leading people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Did you know you can do that by helping them to pray a simple prayer?

(Proverbs 11:30 NLT) The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.

(Proverbs 11:30 NASB95) The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls.