Proverbs 11:16-20
Prov 11:16 (KJB)
A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
Gracious - Grace or favor
Strong - Powerful, violent, or ruthless
Here is a verse which speaks of two opposing systems. First, the woman of grace will retain her honor because she looks out for the benefit of others and she does nothing in a violent manner. One could put Abigail in this category because even though she was married to Nabal, who was a fool, as his name reveals, was saved from death when Abigail went out to meet David who was coming to kill Nabal for his rejection of David’s request. (1 Samuel 25) The attitude of graciousness is then contrasted with the violent man who only has his own interests at heart. His campaign to gain wealth and power does not stop at legitimate means but he will stoop to violent methods to gain the riches of his desires. Riches gained by violence never last a lifetime and there will always be someone else who will come along who is more violent and powerful and steal those riches.
Prov 11:17 (KJB)
The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
Merciful - Kindness
There is one principle we need to know, our behavior will affect others as well as affecting ourselves. Our behavioral principles stem from our heart. If we have been regenerated, then out of our heart will come things that are God glorifying and a good testimony to others plus being kind has no physical diseases associated with it, in fact it has a calming effect upon the body. Kindness also protects our relationships with others in that we have no animosity, so we never have to worry about any retaliation as the cruel man does. Being cruel carries with it many diseases like anxiety and the disorders which accompany that. Not only does it affect our own bodies internally, cruelty can lead to retaliation by the ones were are being cruel to and they could kill us in the process. Cruelty is just as much trouble against ourselves as it is against others.
Prov 11:18 (KJB)
The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
Deceitful work - Wage of deceit
Sure reward - Wage of truth
There is one sure thing in this world and that is the unsaved will work a deceitful work. Their lives are filled with deceit. If they gain riches, the deception is that those riches will become their security. This is deception because no amount of wealth is ever safe and can be lost in a short time. Another area where the wicked work deceit is in the religious realm. They may come along with a false teaching and sincerely believe that what they are believing will save them. That is the ultimate deception which will be made clear on Judgment day. This is why the Christian must never accept any belief systems which are contrary to Scripture because it will only cause division in the church and cause many who are unsaved, to remain unsaved until they can hear the truth, and if they don’t, then the false system will be their doom.
On the other hand is the true believer who sows everything they do in righteousness. As they continue to live their lives in the wisdom of God, whatever they do will bring them a wage of truth. (Gal 6:7-8 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {8} For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:7-8 teaches us that whatever we sow, we will reap and we will have no crop failure. If we sow to righteousness, then we are going to reap a crop of righteousness and the wage of truth which we receive is eternal life since the only way a person can sow a crop of righteousness is having become saved and then living out our salvation.
Prov 11:19 (KJB)
As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
Pursueth - Follow
This verse is a continuation of the previous verse in that it clearly states that righteousness tends to life, that is, salvation brings a person into eternal life. The person who lives in righteousness, allows themselves to filter all their actions through their salvation. They look toward the future and eternal life with the Lord Jesus Christ and realize that all the pursuits of wealth and power in this world is vanity and is fleeting. The unsaved person does not consider the fact that all these pursuits will be vain and will end in eternal damnation, and all the wealth they built up will be given to others or burned up on the last day. In the Hymn, “My Faith Looks Up To Thee,” one of the stanzas states “When ends life’s transient dream.” That is what those who pursue after riches are living in, a transient dream, and when they pass by a cemetery, they never stop to think and ask that when it is their time, will all the pursuits of wealth and power matter? No way, the unbeliever lives for the present and that is it. Only if they become saved do they start asking the right questions.
Prov 11:20 (KJB)
They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
Froward - Distorted or perverted
Upright - Blameless
This verse states that they which are of a froward heart are an abomination to the Lord. That is because their heart has not been regenerated and they are still unsaved, making them the enemies of God and the enemies of Christianity. Those who are unsaved are considered in the flesh. (Rom 8:8 KJV) So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. Those who are unsaved are in total contradiction to God and are His enemies. Those whom the Lord has regenerated are a delight to Him. (Isa 62:4 KJV) Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. The Christian is married to Him by means of being the bride of Christ and that is why He delights in us, not because of something we have done but because of the work of salvation which He has done in transforming us from death to life.