Wise Living

Proverbs 11:1-14

Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855), Danish existential philosopher, probably not the first, certainly one of most influential still felt today, divorcing faith from reason. Religious beliefs cannot be supported by rational argument (and we shouldn’t try), true faith involves accepting what is absurd, religious faith is irrational. Examples: Abraham required to sacrifice Isaac, the Incarnation. Naturally leads to modern position – religion separate from science, faith separate from reason, no connection between the two, if one informs the other it’s always reason/science that wins. Think a 2-story house, reason on first floor, faith on the second, an up-escalator between.

Quickly goes from faith is irrational to faith can’t inform reason to God’s standard applies to matters of faith but not to the rest of a worldview. Made especially easy by wholesale rejection of Old Testament beyond fun little stories we can read to children and maybe learn a few moral lessons from. Explains faulty thinking behind Christians divorcing for unbiblical reasons, getting abortions, supporting homosexual marriage, etc.

Surprise – God does care about what happens outside of church and on days of week other than Sunday. He has a standard, it applies, to all aspects of life.

LBCF 1.1 The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain and infallible rule for saving knowledge, faith, and obedience. …The Holy Scriptures are therefore absolutely indispensable, for God’s former ways of revealing his will to his people have now ceased.

1.2 The Holy Scriptures, or the Word of God written, consist of all the books of the Old and New Testament. These are: …all 66 books

God has a standard for wise living that applies across the spectrum of life, not simply to affairs of the church. God is concerned with how we acquire gain as well as what we do with the firstfruits. God is concerned with our integrity in private and public. And he is concerned with the ripple effects of our social lives including their impact on the community and world.

A. business 1-4

honesty/integrity in transactions v.1,3

3 men found a treasure, could not recover it without supplies; none trusted the rest to leave them with it. 2 stronger convinced 3rd to go to town for supplies, planned to kill him when he returned. Did so, then discovered he had poisoned the food.

WSC Q4: What is God?

A4: God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.

Justice – one of God’s communicable attributes (“Because there is some faint resemblance or similitude of them to be found among the creatures, namely, angels, and saints: hence are they proposed in scripture for our imitation”Fisher)

expects us to use just weights – strong language: abomination – detestable

true for both sides of transactions

buying and selling

employer and employee

humility in dealings v.2

customer is always right

inconvenience ourselves instead of customer/employer

the one who knows it all, is never wrong, acts as if doing customer a favor – all bad for business

go the extra mile, accommodate the customer’s needs, treats with respect – gains customer loyalty

how gained and used, not how much v.4

righteousness more important than riches

wealth is not evil

means to an end

intended to be used not hoarded – we and our wealth are means God uses to bless/meet the needs of others

must be acquired rightly

gained by righteous means – work or legitimate investment

must be used rightly

for good – to the extent that we can control

for the growth of the kingdom

to encourage increase of righteousness in the world

B. personal 5-8


integrity <-> perversity

upright <-> unfaithful


righteousness <-> wickedness [behavior]

blameless <-> wicked


righteousness <-> lust [character]

upright <-> unfaithful


delivered <-> ensnared (implied)

righteous <-> wicked

in personal life – who we are and what we do out of public view

following principles of integrity – right-side up, not perverse

behaving righteously

acting according to what is right, not seeking to satisfy desire

servant-leadership in the home

choosing godly pursuits during leisure time

doing what will encourage growth in Christian character, holiness in ourselves and those around us

wicked are by nature headed for disaster

do not need help

will self-destruct on their own, if not in this life, then the next

course of the righteous avoids the pitfalls present to the wicked

e.g., if not deceptive, don’t have to remember what was said/done; only need remember truth

C. social and civic 9-14

neighborhood v.9, 12-13

health of a city begins with neighborhoods

the righteous, for good of the ‘hood will:

promote the cause of truth and true knowledge

not look down on his neighbor because he may not have all the facts

use discretion in how he speaks; don’t have to tell everything

city v.10-11

strength of a city rests in the well-being of the righteous citizens


citizens to live righteously

civil government to govern well according to divine mandate: see Rom. 13:1-4

nation v.14

for civil government to do its job well requires sound counsel

David and Solomon sought the advice of counselors (2 Sam. 15:12;17:14;1 Ki. 12:6)

Paul and Barnabas ordained eldersin every city (Acts 14:23)

a nation without sound counsel self-destructs

sound counsel requires sound counselors

godly men and women need to be involved in civic counseling and policy-making


by means of democratic process

The Christian has opportunity in all areas of life to be an influence for good, to direct others to the ways of wisdom and righteousness. In so doing, God will bless the Christian and, by extension their neighbors and ultimately the nation in which they live. Our nation is in its present condition because of a lack of godly living at the grass roots. We only have one life to live; may we use it for good in the service of God and our country.


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