A very “Becoming” goal. And one we’ll delve into today on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
We are continuing, now on week eleven of our extended odyssey having undertaken a search and rescue mission for wisdom. Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths.
I want to thank you all for being here today. Whether you’ve followed this series, or if this is the first time you are joining us. We are involved in a study of wisdom as taught in the Book of Proverbs. If you’d like to know more about The Passion Translation and why we are using it for this undertaking, you can find a recap near the end of today’s conversation.
When the Bible keeps talking about the same thing over and over, that’s because it is important. That’s why Solomon continues on the themes of loving wisdom and treasuring her.
Along with that we choose to understand that honoring the commandments of God will prevent us from making complete messes of our lives. They are our service, protection and give us life, joy, and everlasting blessings.
These analogies are not about reminding that there are alternatives and that the resources we need to avoid these pitfalls are readily available.
What are those tools?
Wisdom And understanding.
That’s why we continue along this discourse here on our shared path on “Becoming Today”.
Last week during our discussion on “Wisdom For Today”, we saw Chapter 10 take a different viewpoint. While the first nine days of our study had Solomon singing the praises of wisdom, we have entered into a period in which there is an accounting of his own wisdom gained and shared in his lifetime.
As a king of Israel ( from 970 to 931 BC ), both historians and theologians agree his reign was highlighted by wisdom and wealth that made his land and people prosper.
Solomon gave all the credit for his Success to God, for as it is told in the Scriptures, in first Kings 3:9, n a dream, God had asked him what he wanted most, and Solomon replied, “an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil”.
The rest is history and its benefits continue to live today for those of us willing to seek the wisdom, inspiration and guidance that is so freely offered.
Many of these lessons are shared in easy to digest portions. Like “Gaining wealth through dishonesty is no gain at all. But honesty brings you a lasting happiness.”
Brief, to the point, direct and impactful.
That’s also how today’s reading will unfold.
So now let’s turn the page and prepare for Proverbs 11.
This chapter entitled “Living In Righteousness”, starts out with some common sense directness, as we read together,
Dishonest business practice[a]
is something that Yahweh truly hates.
But it pleases him when we apply the right standards
When you act with presumption,
convinced that you’re right,
don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face!
But humility leads to wisdom.
Integrity will lead you to success,
but treachery will destroy your dreams.
When judgment day comes,
all the wealth of the world won’t help you one bit.
So be rich in righteousness,
for that’s the only thing that can save you in death.
Those with good character walk on a smooth path,
with no detour or deviation.
But the wicked keep falling because of their own wickedness.
Integrity will keep a good man from falling.
But the unbeliever is trapped,
held captive to his sinful desires.
When an evil man dies, all hope is lost,
for his misplaced confidence goes in the coffin,
buried along with him.
The righteous are snatched away from trouble,
and the wicked show up in their place.[c]
The teachings of hypocrites can destroy you,
but revelation-knowledge will rescue the righteous.[d]
The blessing that rests on the righteous
releases strength and favor to the entire city,[e]
but shouts of joy will be heard when the wicked one dies.
The blessing of favor resting upon the righteous
influences a city to lift it higher,[f]
but wicked leaders tear it apart by their words.
To quarrel with a neighbor is senseless.[g]
Bite your tongue; be wise and keep quiet!
You can’t trust gossipers with a secret;
they’ll just go blab it all.
Put your confidence instead in a trusted friend,
for he will be faithful to keep it in confidence.
People lose their way without wise leadership,
but a nation succeeds and stands in victory
when it has many good counselors to guide it.
The evil man will do harm when confronted by a righteous man,
because he hates those who await good news.[h]
A gracious, generous woman
will be honored with a splendid[i] reputation,
but the woman who hates the truth
lives with disgrace[j] and is surrounded by men
who are cutthroats, only greedy for money.[k]
A man of kindness attracts favor,
while a cruel man attracts nothing but trouble.[l]
Evil people may get a short-term gain,[m]
but to sow seeds of righteousness
will bring a true and lasting reward.
A son of righteousness[n] experiences the abundant life,
but the one who pursues evil hurries to his own death.
The Lord can’t stand the stubborn heart bent toward evil,
but he treasures those whose ways are pure.[o]
Assault your neighbor and you will certainly be punished,[p]
but God will rescue the children of the godly.
A beautiful woman who abandons good morals
is like a fine gold ring dangling from a pig’s snout.
True lovers of God are filled with longings
for what is pleasing and good,
but the wicked can only expect doom.
Generosity brings prosperity,
but withholding from charity brings poverty.
Those who live to bless others
will have blessings heaped upon them,
and the one who pours out his life to pour out blessings
will be saturated with favor.[q]
People will curse the businessman with no ethics,
but the one with a social conscience receives praise from all.[r]
Living your life seeking what is good for others brings untold favor,
but those who wish evil for others will find it coming back on them.
Keep trusting in your riches and down you’ll go!
But the lovers of God rise up like flowers in the spring.
The fool who brings trouble to his own family
will be cut out of the will,
and the family servant will do better than he.
But a life lived loving God bears lasting fruit,
for the one who is truly wise wins souls.[s]
If the righteous are barely saved,
what’s in store for all the wicked?[t]
Take a moment to reflect, and then we’ll begin to break down some of today’s concepts.
Righteous living and the need for each of us to do so is something that too many can simply put be explained as something that should be accepted. While it ’s easy to make that statement sometimes, I think the concept is not always easily understood.
Each of us is different. We come from varied backgrounds and we are all at differing levels of development. This includes where any of us may be concerning our own life lessons and experiences on any of the four levels; physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.
Therefore to further develop our common understanding of what it is to be living in righteousness, I believe we should accept the term as meaning to always be trying to do is good just and correct. Plus what is in accord with the Lord’s will.
Those who live righteously are not to consider themselves better than others or try to enforce an air of superiority. We should always be becoming humble, loving and at peace.
Those are attributes that are spoken about as today’s chapter begins:
“Dishonest business practice is something that Yahweh truly hates. But it pleases him when we apply the right standards of measurement.”
As you can further study in the footnotes that follow at the end of today’s post, the right standards of measurement are translated from a Hebrew phrase which literally means “scales of deception” or “false balances”.
Then continuing in verse two is what I referenced as a need for not holding yourself above others as we read, “When you act with presumption, convinced that you’re right, don’t be surprised if you fall flat on your face”! Plus the reminder, “ But humility leads to wisdom”.
That’s another great learning tool that the Proverbs use. They show both the benefits and the consequences for our free will. Either we reap the rewards or pay the price. The decision is ours. We impact the outcome by living righteously or not. By opting to choose wisdom , or choosing not to ior by opting not to make a decision.
Sometimes the latter is most detrimental. Deciding to decide is pretty important along any given path.
As is another keystone of righteous living, as stated in verse three, “Integrity will lead you to success, but treachery will destroy your dreams”.
That is something we see and live with its impacts everyday. Those who have adopted the mentality that to cheat, lie and deceive as the way for them to hold onto power they believe they have, but in reality seems to be more focused on holding others down.
That’s why you always need to Choose Your Words Carefully, and be very selective in who you share them with. As Solomon observed and understood in verse 13, “You can’t trust gossipers with a secret; they’ll just go blab it all. Put your confidence instead in a trusted friend, for he will be faithful to keep it in confidence”.
Having circles and spheres in which we can find trusted individuals is necessary to our shared journey to be able to confide in others and come into communication, or commune in unity to strengthen our purpose and resolve.
As is reported in the Gospel of Matthew , Jesus instructed the following which I share in the language of the Amplified Bible, “Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven”.
Righteous living is not only easier when we are in agreement about it’s benefits and necessity but also when more of us live our lives this way, the power increases exponentially.
That’s why we need to not only insist upon the virtues of this path for ourselves, but also demand it of those in different forms of authority. We need to make wise decisions in who we decide to listen to, associate with, follow or elect.
That is wise advice that has survived the test of time as verse 14 reminds us, quote, “People lose their way without wise leadership, but a nation succeeds and stands in victory when it has many good counselors to guide it”.
There is no doubt that Righteous Living is empowered by wisdom and understanding.
Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “Becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.
I hope you have enjoyed the eleven weeks of this odyssey. There is much more to come.
As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate.
If you do not feel comfortable sharing below, remember you can always reach out privately through the easy to use form on our Contact page.
I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our proverbial search here along this shared journey we call “Becoming Today”.
For those that have been here for a while I hope some of the repetitive nature of these posts is not too distracting. Not only are some of these points to remind us of our focus this month, it is also designed to also be welcoming.
We never know when a fellow traveler may walk along with us, or need to take a diversion.
This is especially true since I have no idea what algorithm directed you, what search method may have pointed in our direction or how many of you find us on any given day. Therefore it’s necessary to recap some of the outline for our combined purposes.
I appreciate your patience and understanding, so I’ll now mention we’ve come to that point in this conversation and if you’ve already heard this, then you can skip the next few paragraphs and pick up with the next image.
Now for those of you listening to the podcast I know that makes no sense, since you can’t hear any of the beautiful graphics we create each day, so you’ll just have to listen along; again… (insert audible giggle here) understanding that I’m laughing with you not at you.
As I am apt to do, even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it.
I am being called to focus this teaching around the The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.
Done so by Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the” message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change.
Also I’ll remind you that the footnotes referred to are available below and include underlined study links.