Text: Proverbs 10, 11, 12
Since there are so many topics covered in these three chapters, I have decided to narrow the text down by pulling out a single theme. You too can do this in your personal study of Proverbs. For example, you can use the method below to examine what Proverbs says about topics like: money/wealth, relationships, the theme of mouth/lips/speech, the theme of paths/ways, contrasts between the wise and foolish, everything said specifically about the “fear of the Lord”, etc.
Together today, using questions and the inductive method, we will study the theme of “the righteous”.
What is said in Proverbs 10-12 about “the righteous”?
-righteousness delivers them from death and trouble (10:2; 11:4,6,8)
-the righteous are fed by the Lord’s provision (10:3)
-they are crowned with blessings (10:6)
-they are remembered well after they die (10:7)
-they have life-giving words (10:11)
-their wages bring life (10:16)
-their tongue is choice silver (10:20)
-their lips nourish many (10:21)
-what they desire is granted (10:24)
-they stand firm forever (regardless of storms) (10:25)
-their prospect is joy (10:28)
-they take refuge in the way of the Lord (10:29)
-they keep hold of their territory and are not uprooted (10:30, 12:3)
-their mouth brings forth wisdom (10:31)
-their lips know what is fitting (10:32)
-their integrity guides them (11:3)
-their righteousness makes a straight way for them (11:5)
-through their knowledge, the righteous escape the destruction of the godless (11:9)
-the city is exalted and rejoices when they prosper (11:10,11)
-the harvest of sowing righteousness is a sure reward (11:18)
-the righteous attain life (11:19)
-they go free (11:21)
-their desires end only in good (11:23)
-they thrive like a green leaf (11:28)
-their fruit is a tree of life (11:30)
-their plans are just (12:5)
-their speech rescues them (12:6,13)
-their house stands firm (12:7)
-they care for the needs of their animals (12:10)
-their root flourishes (12:12)
-no harm befalls them (12:21)
-they are cautious in friendship (12:26)
From these verses, what are the benefits of being righteous?
Generally speaking, these verses show us that the benefits of being righteous are safety, provision, blessings, wealth and prosperity, a lasting legacy, fulfillment, steadiness and strength, clarity, freedom, and flourishing of life.
It stands to reason, if the above list is appealing to us, we ought to ask this next question:
What are the characteristics of righteous people?
They are deeply rooted people, guided by their integrity. They have a positive outlook, “prospecting joy”. When they are in trouble, they take refuge in the Lord. They have knowledge and desire good things; they uphold and plan with justice. They steward well their belongings, taking care of their animals. And also, they enter into friendship cautiously, choosing their friends intentionally.
A lot is also said in these verses to describe the way righteous people speak: they have life-giving words; they speak with refined words that are pure (choice silver is very pure and reflects the image of the one refining it); what they say is nourishing to many people, they speak wisdom and know what words are fitting, and their speech saves them from dangerous situations.
The Proverbs are not unclear about the benefits of living a righteous life. However, if we want the perks righteousness brings, we ought to be regularly striving to develop our character according to the wisdom laid out in these chapters. The pages of Proverbs are rich with application thoughts and today’s passage is no exception:
What characteristics stand out to me as needing growth or refining in my life?
How can I improve the wholesomeness of my speech?
How can I build up my integrity?
Am I taking refuge in the Lord with the struggles I am going through right now?
Are the desires of my heart good things?
Do my actions uphold God’s value of justice?
Am I stewarding well my belongings?
Have I been intentional in my friendships lately?
Why not choose one characteristic and meditate further on it today?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the many blessings you pour out on the righteous. Thank you that because of what Jesus has done for us, we are privileged to walk in His righteousness. Help us to conform our lives to the principles of wisdom that you have laid out for us here in the book of Proverbs. Help me to intentionally consider how, with the help of the Holy Spirit, I can better live according to the characteristics of righteousness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Song: Take My Life (Guy Penrod)
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.