CONFIDENCE: SELF OR GOD?
At some point life may give us responsibility for important things. Are we really doing a good job or are we operating in self confidence that overlooks important warnings? Wisdom cries out to warn us of the dangers ahead of us in this life. What seems like a shortcut or an inconvenience may have a serious cost in the end. This is our chance to hear the advice of God against our own pride.
1 A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.
Would we expect God to approve of theft or to wink at it? His people consider others first and show that light to the world. Those who cheat and steal are not his people at all. Yet we read daily about people who claim faith and yet overlook basic morality that God demands.
2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
I parked my car on top of a pile of snow because my four wheel drive could do it. After church the brethren had to push me out. Some wealthy people walk on others because they can. They are brash and insulting until God wants his accounts to balance. If he can find wisdom the brethren may teach him the wisdom of humility and save his soul.
3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
The humble may find that wisdom in the fear of God, and it points them to the path of salvation. But some people also insist on trusting their crafty plotting, strength, or wealth, which all fail to save them.
4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
When the Titanic sank the band played “Nearer my God to thee”. The poor Irish passengers below shared the same fate as the rich men on deck in this death at sea. But those who were already humbled to repentance found God and victory in the next life. When the ship went down , they went up.
5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
We are born in sin, and continue to sin every day. The only way to be perfect is to be repentant and forgiven by God, so he alone is the perfection that saves us. Those who ignore this life boat are trying to swim in their own strength. The cold ice flows and icy waters of life will draw them into the deep.
6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
Being a “Dudley Do-right” is not a fact of nature. Human nature is born in sin since Adam so we find righteousness only in Messiah. But that brings the mind of Christ, which cuts through pride and delusions with clarity. Left to our nature we do what seems right in our own eyes, which is usually leading to shame.
7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.
There is wisdom that begins with the fear of God, but it is often rejected for selfish wants. Without that wisdom from God the man and his eternal hope is doomed. A little greed will grow into full bloom as the heart of evil. The fruit of that bloom is a cold death.
8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.
With help from God we can live without the fear of death. As we live in righteousness we are passing the entrance exam for the next life in eternity. When the road is leading to death God saves the righteous and sends the unjust to that death in his place.
9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
One who claims to be a brother in faith who teaches others to follow him into sin is a curse. But those who falsely accuse others of sin are just as destructive. Our words reveal the dark places in our hearts while wisdom reveals a light of hope.
10 When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.
Those who live with courage and honor are celebrated by their community. But there is an angry cry against those who demonstrate greed, violence, and dishonesty. For a season we may not know who is walking in the light but there will be a time when the darkness is caught in a revealing glare and it is condemned angrily.