Pathways Through Proverbs
November 11, 2008
Today's Reading - Proverbs 11
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Following Scripture Verses
- A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
- When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
- The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
- Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
- The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
- The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
- When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.
- The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.
- An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
- When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.
- By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
- He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
- A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
- Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
- He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
- A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
- The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
- The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
- As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
- They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
- Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.
- As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
- The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
- There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
- The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
- He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
- He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
- He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
- He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
- The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
- Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.
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The second half of today's verse is often quoted, but normally without the first half of the verse. While it is obviously true that the soul-winner is wise, I believe that much of the teaching of that phrase is lost if the first part of the verse is not included.
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The verse opens by stating that righteous people produce a tree of life. In other words, if a man is righteous he will be producing life, much in the same way that the Holy Spirit will produce the fruits of the spirit in the lives of those who allow Him to do His work. An apple tree produces apples, and a righteous man produces a tree of life.
Immediately following this, Solomon states that the man who wins souls is wise. Normally when I have heard this verse preached the pastor says something like this: "If you want to be wise, be a soul-winner." Soul-winning thus becomes the solution to all spiritual problems.
I am not sure that this is entirely what is meant here. Rather than stating that soul-winning makes you wise, I believe that Solomon is teaching that wisdom makes you a soul-winner. If a man is filled with rebellion against God, yet somehow leads another to Christ, is he suddenly wise? I don't believe so. However, if a man is filled with the wisdom of God, he will not only attempt to win people to Christ, but he will have answers for their questions and a lifestyle that backs up the witness that he is trying to give. This is where the first part of the verse comes in. Righteousness produces a tree of life. A wise man will be righteous, and thus he will use his actions and speech to direct others toward the Savior. He will be a tree of life, bringing souls to Christ through the wisdom that God has offered him and that he has chosen to accept.
Soul-winning isn't the avenue to wisdom. Instead, partake of the wisdom of God so that you can become a soul-winner.
Pastor Mark J Montgomery