The eleventh chapter of proverbs speaks to the horizontal relationship that we have with others. Spiritual fruit like humility, integrity, generosity and kindness is shown to lead us in paths of life.. this fruit is essential in nourishing our relationships with others.
"A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight." (v1)
This verse shows that God is passionately interested in the way that we treat each other. We see this passion in the ten commandments.. six of those commands are targeted at the way that we interact with each other.
"When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them." (v2-3)
Humility and integrity are linked together with wisdom.. in a sense it is impossible to be wise if you are proud and lack integrity.
"The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness. The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust. (v5-6) The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead." (v8)
There is a wisdom that comes when we follow the Lord with our heart.. it is a wisdom that leads us in straight paths and delivers us from trouble.. but it is a wisdom that can cost.. sometimes following Him leads us to places we would rather not go.
"By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown." (v11)
A good reminder that our cities, states and nations need us.. our governments are blessed when we are involved.. it reminds me that all that is required for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.
"Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered." (v13)
A reminder that we are called to be trustworthy people. There is nothing like gossip.. even in the form of a "prayer request".. to hurt and wound the people that God loves.
"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." (v14)
Counselors can come in the strangest places.. if we are open to His voice we will often hear some of the wisest things. It is essential that we seek out and listen to His voice in others.
"A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself." (v17)
This reminds me of the golden rule.. we must always treat others with kindness.. it is the way that we ourselves want to be treated. When we are kind we are manifesting a fruit of God's Spirit.
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." (v24-25)
Generosity is a kingdom principle.. give and it will be given to you. If you have a benevolent heart you will want to bless people with what the Lord has blessed you with.
"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise." (v30)
Adam Clarke puts it this way: "Wisdom seeks to reclaim the wanderers; and he who is influenced by wisdom will do the same." Our lives are meant to be a reflection of Christ.. nourishing people with spiritual fruit and drawing all people to Him.
If you liked this post then please click here to catch some of my other ponderings on the book of Proverbs.