Day 11 brings us to some of the more common sayings we hear from the book of Proverbs. Many of these chapters are broken into short statements or phrases on wisdom. Today we will take a few of the verses from Chapter 11 and break them down. Be sure to read through the chapters each day to get the full picture of what Solomon is saying.
"The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead. With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered." Proverbs 11:8 - 9 (ESV)
"Don't go that way! You are going the wrong way! Danger, danger!" You may have yelled those words at a screen while watching a film or television show when the main characters are headed for unforeseen trouble. It's a great tactic for shows and movies to put your favorite character in a situation where you know more about what is about to happen than they do. The bridge is out ahead, or the bad guys are hiding in the house. Trouble is coming toward your favorite character and they are unaware.
It adds suspense to a film when trouble is right around the corner but the character is unaware. That’s the way of the wicked in Proverbs. The wicked walk right into trouble without even seeing it coming. Are you walking into trouble today? Taking a moment to listen to the call of wisdom could deliver you from problems.
Safety in Community
"Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety." Proverbs 11:14 (ESV)
When I was in elementary school, we had a class called Guidance. It was a mixture of helpful lessons on dealing with big emotions and safety tips on how to avoid being abducted by a stranger. Each week, those classes were designed to help us navigate big feelings and serious situations because children need instruction. Children are not the only people who need guidance; we all can benefit from assistance and direction from time to time. Solomon says that an abundance of counselors will bring safety. Walking is wisdom is not something that you have to do alone. In fact, a community of friends will make the journey more enjoyable and will probably help you avoid some pitfalls that you might not see otherwise. We were not created to live this life in isolation.
An Odd Equation
"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want." Proverbs 11:24 (ESV)
Sometimes the Bible does not make sense to the ways of today’s world. Time and time again God does more with less than we could do on our own with plenty. One boy's lunch should not have even fed one adult, but when God stepped in it became lunch for over 5,000 people (Matthew 14:13 - 21). When the Israelites marched around Jericho singing and blowing trumpets, the walls fell down (Joshua 6). Solomon says that if we give freely whatever we have we will actually become richer. I can't imagine a textbook in an MBA program instructing anyone to freely give their money (or time, talent, resources) away. But in God's economy, our faithfulness is multiplied to meet the needs of our communities. When we give freely, we are blessing others and we are living in contentment. Being content is not just a fleeting feeling; contentment allows us to see our lives as something greater than we can attain on our own.
Comparison is a trap that will keep us always wanting more. When we see ourselves as deserving of what God has given us, we tend to become greedy and hold onto those blessings. But blessings are not meant to be held with a tight fist. Instead, we are called to give away what God has blessed us with so we can be a blessing to others. When we withhold what we have and choose to measure our standards based on what we desire, we will find ourselves suffering and lacking. Comparison is a joy thief - a person of wisdom knows that there is joy in trusting and being generous.
Reflect and Respond
Are you being generous with the blessings God has given you? Are you sharing your life in community? Stop and consider those who may be around you that may help you avoid a wrong path or silly pitfall. When you think of those friends and counselors around you, take a moment to thank God for the blessing of community and friendship.