“THE INTEGRITY OF THE UPRIGHT GUIDES THEM”
We continue reading and meditating on Solomon’s Proverbs; if all the people in Israel had put into practice his precepts surely his kingdom would have continued to be a great and righteous kingdom for “a great while” (2 Sam 18 v.9) after his death. But sadly the history of the generations that followed shows that was not so. Healthy spiritual life centred on worship at the temple he had built in Jerusalem, but this began to falter and although there were excellent times during the reigns of good kings, the spiritual commitment of the nation steadily withered away..
We can see a comparison to when the Bible was first printed in the 16th and 17th Centuries and became increasingly available for all to read – what a reformation it brought about! But since then there has been a downhill slide – until today we are at the very bottom of the hill! And it is time for God to act – and his word makes it clear that he will.
Some of today’s Proverbs in chapter 11 jump out at us! There are some that are so meaningful. They make us think how good and harmonious life would be if they were widely put into practice. “With the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright guides them” [v.2,3] “The righteousness of the blameless keeps his ways straight” [v.5] “The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead.” [v.8]
In contrast, “with his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbour” [v.9], but then comes the comment, “but by knowledge the righteous are delivered” It is not difficult to see what kind of knowledge is meant!
In our world today there is a total lack of Bible inspired wisdom. Life has become increasingly uncertain – especially in some parts of the world. Our final thought comes from v.30, “”The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life…” This takes us back to thinking of “the tree of life” in the garden of Eden from which Adam and Eve were barred and then to Revelation 2 v.7. Those who truly follow the way of Christ, guided by integrity, will have “great joy and (be) continually in the Temple blessing God” which are the concluding words in Luke’s Gospel we also read today.
Imagine the even greater joy in the Temple to come! Let us make our lives full of God inspired “integrity” becoming soberly aware of what Peter was to later write,”… if necessary you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold … may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ … and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible.” [1 Peter 1 v. 6-8} .
Our Proverbs reading ch11:
"And he that watereth shall be watered himself"
The x2 words for water in this verse are x2 diff Hebrew words. The 1st means to soak abundantly, and is used Isai 55:10 (the context of which is the soaking by the word of God as the rain does the ground). And the 2nd means to flow as water ie to rain, in fact the majority of times it is translated as "teach" in our Bibles.
With this in mind we go to Paul's words (1 Cor 3:6) "I have planted, Apollos WATERED; but God gave the increase". And also the words of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 10:42) "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold WATER only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward".
This, like our Proverbs ref has spiritual application, the water being the word of God. With this in mind, let us be waterers/teachers of the word of God, because we know that God will give the increase, and He will reward us.