How are you all today? Did you get to go to church this morning? I hope that you had a great weekend, what is left of it. Proverbs chapter 11 contains several verses that cover the topic of integrity in business. I hope that many of you benefit from this topic whether you own a business or not, so let’s look at Proverbs 11 today.
Righteousness- Reflecting Christ In Our Life
Righteousness is “the quality of being morally right or justifiable.” Another definition I read used some of these same words but also included following the laws of their particular religion. Once born again, Bible-believing Christians follow Christ because we are made righteous when we are Christ followers! We see the term “righteous” all throughout the Bible and this includes what we have been reading in Proverbs.
When we follow Christ, we live a life that reflects what God (Lord Jesus Christ) has taught us. This covers EVERY part of our life, including our jobs. It includes whether we own our own business or work for someone else. Integrity is an important part of business, as well as other areas of our lives. Integrity is living a life that is above reproach. This isn’t to say that people can’t find some reason to blame us for something they disagree with or they don’t like, but we truly live in a way that is “honest and having strong moral principles; It is moral uprightness.
Righteousness includes integrity and honesty. It also includes humility instead of pride. The first 3 verses of Proverbs 11 state that “dishonest scales are detestable to the Lord, but an accurate weight is His delight.” Have you ever seen someone cheat or lie or steal regarding the products that they are selling? This verse is specifically about being honest when stating anything about that item. It means that you aren’t cheating anyone!
Lying about the benefits of a product, is also wrong. Verse 3 states that the integrity of the upright guides them, but the perversity of the treacherous destroys them. In other words, people with integrity already have a guide. They already have set standards and boundaries and moral lines that they will not cross. Those who are deceitful though (treacherous), will be destroyed because of their lack of morals and integrity.
Wealth Is Not Permanent
Verse 4 – Several verses in this chapter deal with wealth. This verse states that “wealth is not profitable on a day of wrath, but righteousness rescues from death.” Wealth is not going to save a person from bad circumstances, especially in the end times. It does not matter how wealthy a person is. They should not count on all their wealth to sustain them. Righteousness though rescues from death. Having a right relationship with God is what matters in this life, not wealth. Those who are right before God also will be saved from death (separation from God).
My husband and I were listening today on the news about the first space flights that people who are not astronauts are going on now. The cost is incredible and Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos will be making a lot of money from those who will pay to take a space flight. My husband and I figured out that it would cost us $500,000 for both of us to take the 90 minute trip! Needless to say, we will be waiting for ticket prices to come way down before taking that thrill ride.
Verse 7 is another verse that mentions placing our hope in wealth. It states “When the wicked man dies, his expectation comes to nothing and hope placed in wealth vanishes. Wealth is very fleeting. We can’t take it with us, to heaven or for those who don’t know Christ, to hell. It is so temporary. When verses speak of the wicked, the wicked are those who are not righteous. They are people who do not have a relationship with Christ. They do not seek after and follow after God. God is not their priority. Everything that the wicked expected will come to nothing!
Destroying Our Neighbor
Verse 9 is about the ungodly destroying their neighbor with his mouth. Verse 11 “A city is built by the blessing of the upright, but it is torn down by the mouth of the wicked. I thought of so many things that have happened in this last year of Covid and Black Lives Matter destroying cities and monuments, critical race theory taught in classrooms and so many issues going on.
People destroy each other face to face, on the news and in so many ways. This is how destruction comes to cities and countries. There is so much hate right now in the United States. It is really sad.
Verse 12 says basically the same thing. Whoever shows contempt for his neighbor lacks sense, but a man with understanding keeps silent. This doesn’t mean to withhold something that is true and right, but don’t be so nasty and hateful when we speak to and about others. I see whole neighborhoods and cities all over the USA and many other countries are destroyed due to hate for and by their neighbors in their community. A gossip spreads secrets and they reveal information that isn’t true. A trustworthy person keeps a confidence.
With Counselors, There Is Safety
Verse 14 Without guidance, people fall, but with many counselors, there is deliverance! This is such a powerful verse! People need guidance in the decisions they make and what they believe. We live in a broken, fallen world where we are hurt and/or confused. We need to hear truth and have questions answered and advice given. Without guidance, we will fall!
Verse 20 “Those with twisted minds are detestable to the Lord, but those with blameless conduct are His delight.” I believe that it is very important to know what we believe and why we believe it. This shapes our worldview and thus our character. God delights in us when we have blameless, righteous character. When people don’t think about their life and and what they are doing, they have twisted, confused minds. Sometimes people do need to get help to understand life, but when they go about making decisions without thinking about the consequences, they are very likely to mess up their lives.
Verse 22 “A beautiful woman who rejects good sense is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout.” Does a beautiful piece of jewelry look good on a pig? Does it benefit and make the pig look more attractive? So, a beautiful woman, although she is attractive, doesn’t gain anything if she is nasty, hateful, and doesn’t make good decisions. Her beauty is useless basically. She will not attract good people towards her either.
Have A Heart That Gives
Verse 23 “The desire of the righteous turns out well, but the hope of the wicked leads to wrath.” Verse 24 “One person gives freely, yet gains more, another withholds what is right, only to become poor.” Verse 25 “A generous person will be enriched, and the one who gives a drink of water will receive water.” Verse 26 “People will curse anyone who hoards grain, but a blessing will come to the one that sells it.”
These 4 verses pertain particularly to people who have a desire to give and not withhold from other people. Verse 24 specifically says that the person who gives freely will gain more, but the person who withholds from someone, will become poor. The people whose lives will be enriched are the ones who give, not the ones who withhold and those who hoard.
Seek After Good
Verse 27 – “The one who searches for what is good finds favor, but if someone looks for trouble, it will come to him.” If we look for what is good in our lives, we will benefit. The people who look to have good influences in their life and do what is right, will benefit, but for people who don’t make decisions that are right, they will fall.
Bad things will happen, trouble will come on them if they are looking for trouble. The phrase, “you become the people you hang around” reminds me of this. If you value good people in a good environment in your life, you are more likely to be in a better life situation and make better decisions than if you go around with people who do not conduct themselves well and live in a bad environment. We are often, by others, judged by who we are around. If we choose crooked, immoral people to interact with, it is harder to be different and be better. They tend to drag us down and want us to act as they do. We tend to be like they are.
More On Consequences
Verse 28 Like earlier in this chapter, those who trust in their wealth will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage. They will grow and spread.
Verse 30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, but violence takes lives.” Consequences, need I say more!
Verse 31 “If the righteous will be repaid on earth, how much more the wicked and sinful.” Again, consequences.
This was a pretty big chapter with a lot of themes. Righteousness, integrity, wealth or riches are temporary, are the main themes I see. Are you challenged by any of these today?
Sorry this is finished so late in the day. I had several things come up today, one being church which is every Sunday and is always great!