Proverbs 11:3-5, 8-11, 19, 20, 28, 31
The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
We have here a view of the exceeding worth of moral integrity, or of righteousness; we see what, in the judgment of the wise, it will do for its possessor. It will -
I. DIRECT HIS WAY. "The integrity of the upright shall guide them;...the righteousness of the perfect [i.e. the upright] shall direct his way" (vers. 3-5). And we read. (Proverbs 10:9) that "he that walketh uprightly walketh surely." The man who honestly and earnestly seeks guidance of God will find what he seeks; he will know what he should do, and whither he should go, and how he should act, in the various relations of life. Instead of moving onwards and backwards, instead of inclining this way and that, he will walk straight on in the highway of justice, purity, devotion. And he will walk "surely." It is not in the way of holiness that the snares of sin or the stumbling blocks of folly are scattered about.
II. DELIVER HIM IN DANGER OR DISTRESS. (Vers. 4, 8, 9.) "Many are the afflictions" even "of the righteous," but "the Lord delivereth him," etc.; "Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness" (Psalm 112:4). Righteousness brings deliverance in many ways.
1. It secures the favour, and thus the merciful interposisition, of the Almighty.
2. It commands the esteem, and thus the succour, of the good and true.
3. It confers mental and physical vigour on its subjects, and makes them strong for the day of peril and of need.
4. It endows with those moral qualities - conscientiousness, consciousness of rectitude, courage, patience, hopefulness, perseverance - which lead to victory.
III. MAKE HIM THE SOURCE OF ENLARGEMENT TO OTHERS. "The city is exalted" (ver. 11). Every man is something the better for the integrity of his neighbor; and the contribution of many righteous men to the exaltation and enlargement of the city, or the Church, or the society, is very great. They are the salt which preserves it; they are the fountain and the garner which supply its need and minister to its strength.
IV. PROMOTE HIS PROSPERITY. (Vers. 28, 31.) As a rule, upon the whole, the righteous man will prosper and be recompensed "on the earth." Sobriety, purity, justice, prudence; in fact, integrity conducts to well being now and here.
V. SECURE FOR HIM THE GOOD PLEASURE OF THE HIGHEST. (Ver. 20.) What a recompense is this - "to be a delight unto the Lord," to "have this testimony, that he pleases God"! What a reward of the purest and most enduring kind to the Christian man, that he is "pleasing Christ," is living every day in the sunshine of his Lord's approval!
VI. ISSUES IN THE FULNESS OF LIFE. "He that is steadfast in righteousness shall attain unto life."
1. Unto the fulness of spiritual life below; nearness of access to God; a real approval by God and of delight in him; constancy of service rendered unto him; growing likeness to his Divine spirit and character.
2. Unto the fulness of eternal life hereafter. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.