11 May A Proverbs A Day // Proverbs 11
The 11th // Proverbs 11
It’s Wednesday. Currently, my Spanish 3 PreAP students are supposed to be working on a grammar practice, but it’s not going to happen today. Today is yearbook day. The kids have all gone to pickup their yearbooks and I know that they’ll spend the rest of their day today looking through it, commenting on the photos, talking about the memories and writing really lengthy notes that end in H.A.G.S. [Have A Great Summer]
It makes me want to find my old yearbooks and look through them. High school is such an interesting time in life… being a high school teacher is an interesting job. Yes, I teach Spanish, but I’m FAR MORE concerned with teaching these kiddos to be good people than I am with teaching them how to conjugate a verb… From cheating [both on tests and on boyfriends] to bullying to internet usage to partying, there’s one word I use more than anything [one overarching theme to them all] when I help a student learn a life lesson.
In the words of every high school teacher, ever, “Integrity is what you do when no one is watching.” However, integrity isn’t just something you have in secret, it’s something you must be courageous enough to have in public, too. As I read chapter 11, I notice that Solomon has quite a bit to say about it as well… Here are some of the themes I found in today’s reading:
The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” –Proverbs 11:3
Integrity is Paramount:
Be kind. [11:16-17] Be trustworthy. [11:13] Be slow to judge, [11:12] Be humble. [11:7] Do what is right. [11:3] Show discretion. Seek the good in everything. Solomon says that those who look for all that is good will find it… and the same goes for those who seek evil. [11:27] Solomon mentions that those who are full of integrity will be rescued from trouble [11:8], they will escape the the attempts of the wicked to destroy them [11:9] and that the city will rejoice when they prosper [11:10]! He also contrasts those bits of good news with the reality of what happens to wicked people… the city shouts for joy when they perish [11:10], trouble falls on them [11:8] and the promises of their power never come to fruition! [11:7] Solomon even goes so far as to describe a beautiful woman who makes decisions without discretion as nothing more than a gold ring in a pig’s snout! [11:22]
The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.”–Proverbs 11:6
There’s Freedom in Righteousness:
With my high-schoolers, especially, it’s hard to see the benefit of being the one in the group who chooses good over what is popular at the time. Solomon tells us to remember that those who choose sin become trapped by their decisions [11:6] and those who choose faithfulness are blessed, rewarded and free from the sin that so easily entangles others! Sometimes it is hard, when we are in the middle of a situation, to see the benefits and the freedom of choosing to do what is right. This is one verse I plan to memorize and hide in my heart to use in times like that. Believe it or not, there is FREEDOM in righteousness!
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.”–Proverbs 11:4
Earthly Wealth vs. Spiritual Wealth:
Solomon talks a lot about wealth and prosperity here on Earth. He often talks about work ethic and a direct correlation between monetary success and righteousness. But in this chapter, he takes it a step further… We can build our wealth here on Earth, but Solomon warns us to not place our faith in our riches… he calls them “mortal” [11:7] He reminds us that anything belonging to this world can be taken away. [11:28] Those who put all their trust in their empires and hold their wealth close to themselves are not rich at all and the wicked earn money with no worth. [11:18] He tells us that those who give freely gain more. [11:24]. Those who share their wealth will be rewarded [11:25] and others look highly upon the generous man [11:26]. Solomon goes so far to say that other people pray for blessings upon the man who gives freely of their resources to those who need it. Isn’t it true, though? We always love to see the good guy succeed!
Today, I pray for integrity in the day to day and in the moments I need it most. I pray that I can remember that choosing to do what is right, while it may be hard in the present, will bring me freedom and life! I pray that I can remember the words of Paul in his 2nd letter to the church at Corinth:
For we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen; for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” –2 Corinthians 4:18