The Liberal Soul

On this edition, we Take Note of Proverbs 11:18-25. This widely-varied section of scripture eventually reminds us to be generous, understanding that generosity brings blessing.

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The Liberal Soul

Proverbs 11:18-25

  • A person could read the Proverbs daily for years and still learn something new
  • There are words of wisdom from heaven provided sentence after sentence
  • Each thought, arranged in verse-format in our Old Testament, challenges us
  • To consider something we have never considered before
  • Or to remember something we had almost forgotten
  • It’s another journey through Proverbs today
  • This time, eight verses in chapter eleven
  • Many times setting right, just behavior against wrong, sinful behavior
  • Sometimes describing both the righteous and the evil person and telling us the difference
  • Always giving us something to think about
  • Today, “The Liberal Soul”
  • From Proverbs 11:18-25
  • I have a standard reminder when we approach Proverbs
  • That is, it will take us freely from one topic to another, often without pause
  • Sometimes connecting two successive verses
  • Usually not
  • The dictionary defines a proverb as “a brief popular epigram or maxim”
  • An epigram is “a terse, sage, or witty and often paradoxical saying”
  • And a maxim is “a general truth, fundamental principle, or rule of conduct”
  • The Proverbs of scripture fit these descriptions, but come directly from God
  • Not just from religious tradition
  • Very likely the written format “proverb,” in today’s thinking, is modeled after this section of scripture
  • And the definition is likely, in part, a result of the content you’ll find in these Old Testament Proverbs
  • Let’s begin looking at each of these Proverbs near the end of chapter eleven, individually…

Proverbs 11:18

18  The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward. 

  • The results of wicked works, the wages (you could say) of wicked works, are deceitful
  • That is, they bring no reward or profit
  • And whatever reward or profit the evil man hoped to receive, never comes
  • He was deceived into believing his evil would bring him something good, but it cannot
  • Wicked works, done for selfish reasons, destroy, rather that create
  • If someone follows God
  • And follows after that which is right
  • Taking actions and performing works consistent with Godliness
  • There are certain rewards that come
  • Eternal rewards
  • Rewards that can never be taken away
  • Because they are provided by, and preserved for us by, God
  • This is why it is always best to do right, even if it means temporary discomfort
  • Because long-term, permanent gain is the result
  • Doing wrong, while it may get us out of a jam right now, leads to long-term pain
  • The next proverb has similar thoughts…

Proverbs 11:19

19  As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death. 

  • Performing some evil act today is more likely to endanger life than to enhance life
  • Wickedness is risky, it complicates things, and it puts us in harm’s way
  • This is true both in the short and long-term view
  • A person trusting God, following Him, is on the path to life eternal
  • A person rejecting God, following their own way, is on the path to eternal death
  • So, whether your wrong actions today endanger you today or not, the long-term forecast is bleak
  • It is always bleak
  • While the lover and follower of God has life to look forward to – here and in eternity
  • How does the Lord look on our hearts for good or evil?

Proverbs 11:20

20  They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight. 

  • The word froward means distorted, crooked, false
  • And a person with a heart like this is abhorrent
  • They don’t have faith in God, reject His way, and receive the consequences of that rejection
  • But it is a joyous thing to know that the upright
  • And that word means entire (figuratively or morally), a person with integrity, sound
  • These kind of people are obviously following God, humbly submitting to Him
  • And living in a way that acknowledges who He is, and what that means for their behavior
  • The froward person can turn to God
  • He is merciful and kind
  • And He has provided a way of salvation through His son
  • That froward heart can be changed into an upright heart
  • One delighted in by God
  • But every distorted, crooked, false heart must turn to Him and be transformed
  • And there is punishment ahead for the crooked…

Proverbs 11:21

21  Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. 

  • I think a restatement of this verse may help us
  • From the ESV…

“Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.”

  • There is no doubt that the evil will be punished
  • This is not a theoretical punishment
  • It means quite real punishment not only in this life, but the life to come
  • Those who reject Jesus, God’s son, have their part in the lake of fire
  • Where there is no relief, and no escape
  • Those who are right with God, through His son Jesus, are delivered
  • In many ways during this life
  • But, of course, also in the life to come
  • Even the children of righteous people have deliverance
  • Right actions often make this possible, but God also remembers
  • Now, this does not mean salvation for our offspring, every person trusts Christ individually
  • But it does often men residual blessing
  • Because doing right so often means good outcomes for the righteous and many of those connected to the righteous
  • As we do so often in the Proverbs, changing topics…

Proverbs 11:22

22  As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. 

  • We’re talking about a beautiful woman, who lacks judgement here
  • And we know with certainty that bad character and bad judgement blemish anyone
  • But this proverb is focused
  • It says that lacking discretion in the life of this fair woman, is similar to a gold ring in a pig’s snout
  • Whatever value we place on beauty is quickly decreased when we consider character
  • No amount of beauty can overcome a lack of judgement
  • The beauty is marred by that shortcoming
  • And this is a wise thing to remember
  • These proverbs go on…

Proverbs 11:23

23  The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath. 

  • That which the righteous person desires, results in only good
  • We praise the Lord that He changes our desires when He saves us through Christ
  • And if we are walking closely with Him, His desires for us, become our desires
  • We know that if we live according to His desires, blessings follow
  • He has promised us this would be the case
  • And we can make that claim, often, in this life
  • But more often, and more importantly, in eternal life after death
  • We still face all the standard challenges in life
  • And we still encounter hardships
  • But we encounter all of them with Him at our side
  • He grants peace and comfort and all the grace we need
  • And this is indeed good
  • But the wicked can have only one expectation and that is wrath
  • Their challenges and hardships in life come as well
  • But they come without the benefit of new life in Christ
  • And the end of a life rejecting Christ is a catastrophic end
  • One in which the sinner faces the punishment for sin alone and for eternity
  • Two counter-cultural proverbs to close our time…

Proverbs 11:24

24  There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty. 

  • There is a good restatement of this verse in the ERV…

“Some people give freely and gain more; others refuse to give and end up with less.”

  • This goes against nearly all of man’s wisdom on the subject
  • We think those who give, have less
  • But often learn from generosity that this is a lie
  • Holding onto anything, hoping to use it for selfish reasons, ends in poverty
  • Poverty in the financial arena, perhaps
  • But poverty of soul as well
  • We should be what the next verse encourages us to be…

Proverbs 11:25

25  The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself. 

  • In this, we are talking about a person who is generous
  • They give freely
  • They provide charity liberally
  • They provide water where water is needed
  • But they never find themselves lacking water
  • Or anything else they have ever given
  • Because good things come back to them
  • And we can be certain that God has made this the case
  • For He is generous Himself

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