A false balance is an abomination to the Lord
Proverbs 11 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight.
2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor,
But with the humble is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.
5 The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them,
But the treacherous will be caught by their own greed.
7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish,
And the hope of strong men perishes.
8 The righteous is delivered from trouble,
But the wicked takes his place.
9 With his mouth the godless man destroys his neighbor,
But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
And when the wicked perish, there is joyful shouting.
11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
But by the mouth of the wicked it is torn down.
12 He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,
But a man of understanding keeps silent.
13 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.
14 Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
15 He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it,
But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.
16 A gracious woman attains honor,
And ruthless men attain riches.
17 The merciful man does himself good,
But the cruel man does himself harm.
18 The wicked earns deceptive wages,
But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.
19 He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life,
And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.
20 The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord,
But the blameless in their walk are His delight.
21 Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,
But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.
22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout
So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous is only good,
But the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
24 There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more,
And there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.
25 The generous man will be prosperous,
And he who waters will himself be watered.
26 He who withholds grain, the people will curse him,
But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
27 He who diligently seeks good seeks favor,
But he who seeks evil, evil will come to him.
28 He who trusts in his riches will fall,
But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.
29 He who troubles his own house will inherit wind,
And the foolish will be servant to the wisehearted.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise wins souls.
31 If the righteous will be rewarded in the earth,
How much more the wicked and the sinner!
There is a polarizing issue in our society where the sides are described as being for life or for choice. There is of course a deception in that characterization, because choice is not the opposite of life. Death is the opposite of life. The truth is that life and choice really go together. Life is about making choices. In Deuteronomy 30:15-20 God says: “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live…” Our choice is not between life and choice, but rather it is between life and death; prosperity and adversity. God says: Choose life in order that you may live.
The entirety of today’s text, Proverbs 11, is about the choices we have in life and the consequences of those choices. Verses 18-21 say:
The wicked earns deceptive wages, But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward. He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life, And he who pursues evil will
bring about his own death. The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, But the blameless in their walk are His delight.
Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered. That is says, the wicked earn deceptive wages is not really about their income or salary. Romans 6:23 says: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. While it sometimes seems that those who live unrighteously, those who choose sin, prosper more than the righteous in this life, the truth is that prosperity is deceptive and fleeting. The true wage of evil is death. In Psalm 37:1-3 the psalmist says: Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. The deceptive prosperity of evildoers will wither and fade, but if we choose life, if we choose the free gift of life in Christ, it is eternal. It will never fade. Again, it is a choice of life or death.
Verse 5 says: The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way,
But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. It is ironic that so often those who choose unrighteousness will blame others for the consequences of their choice. They sometimes blame God, saying that it is unfair that they receive the wage or the consequence of their choice. They say a loving God would not cause them to suffer or pay a penalty. If God did not give us a choice, then He would not be a loving God, He would be an oppressive taskmaster. Having the right to choose also means that we bear the responsibility for the consequences of our choice. We cannot blame God for the choices we make. Sometimes the unrighteous, those who choose sin, also blame the righteous. They say that it is the fault of righteousness that there is sin. It is true that if there were no light, then there would be no awareness of darkness, but it would still be dark. Righteousness does not create sin, it causes an awareness of it. In John 3:16-21 Jesus says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” Light exposes darkness. But, for those who choose light, the light will also dispel darkness. If we choose Christ, we also choose and receive His righteousness.
Today’s proverb begins saying: A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight. Our society and culture presents a false balance. It tries to balance life and choice as if they are equal on the scale. The truth is that we must balance life and death. We must balance prosperity and adversity. That is the just and right balance. We also must consider not only the fleeting appearance of the consequences of our choices, but the eternal ones. God says: “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments… I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live.” Not only today, but every day the choices of life and death are set before us; the consequences of prosperity and adversity follow our choices. Light is not to blame for the darkness, but rather it exposes and dispels the darkness. Do not fall to the false and deceptive balance of the world. Believe and receive the true and just weight, it is a free gift from God through Christ.
Thank You Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit; today and every day, by Your grace, I choose life, light and prosperity. Amen.