Lord, thank You for placing me among the righteous.
Read PROVERBS 10:1–32
The proverbs of Solomon:
A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.
2 Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value,
but righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
4 Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.
5 He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
6 Blessings crown the head of the righteous,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.
7 The name of the righteous is used in blessings,
but the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise in heart accept commands,
but a chattering fool comes to ruin.
9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.
10 Whoever winks maliciously causes grief,
and a chattering fool comes to ruin.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up conflict,
but love covers over all wrongs.
13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning,
but a rod is for the back of one who has no sense.
14 The wise store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
15 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
16 The wages of the righteous is life,
but the earnings of the wicked are sin and death.
17 Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
18 Whoever conceals hatred with lying lips
and spreads slander is a fool.
19 Sin is not ended by multiplying words,
but the prudent hold their tongues.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
but the heart of the wicked is of little value.
21 The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
22 The blessing of the Lord brings wealth,
without painful toil for it.
23 A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes,
but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.
24 What the wicked dread will overtake them;
what the righteous desire will be granted.
25 When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone,
but the righteous stand firm forever.
26 As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so are sluggards to those who send them.
27 The fear of the Lord adds length to life,
but the years of the wicked are cut short.
28 The prospect of the righteous is joy,
but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.
29 The way of the Lord is a refuge for the blameless,
but it is the ruin of those who do evil.
30 The righteous will never be uprooted,
but the wicked will not remain in the land.
31 From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom,
but a perverse tongue will be silenced.
32 The lips of the righteous know what finds favor,
but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Not having a righteousness of my own… but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith” (Phil. 3:9).
Many of Proverbs’ key themes appear here, especially “the righteous,” occurring 13 times in these 32 verses; the word righteousness occurs once. Righteousness is the practical and ethical outworking of wisdom: the righteous live in line with wisdom and therefore as God desires. Frequently here, the righteous are contrasted with the wicked.
There are benefits for the righteous (6): they gain life (16), they do not go hungry (3), they experience stability (25,30), their desires are granted (24) and they can look forward to joy (28). We may protest that it is not always so, but for an offset we have to look elsewhere: to Job, Lamentations or Psalms, which depict in various ways the suffering of the righteous. Even there, however, we are reminded that despite pain and doubt, living righteous lives is the best way. In new covenant terms, righteousness describes both our new standing before God through the cross and our new life by the Spirit. We may face challenging and puzzling situations but can be assured of an ultimately positive outcome (Rom. 8:18–30).
The righteous transfer benefits to others, too. Their words stem from wisdom (31) and are valuable (20), nurturing (21) and life-giving (11), bringing blessing (7) and finding favor (32). Much of this seems like the result of human effort, but verses 22, 27 and 29 remind us that, even in the old-covenant era, righteousness had its ultimate source in God. Followers of Jesus, made righteous in him, bring something to society. As salt, they preserve and prolong (Matt. 5:13). A society, a community, a home or a workplace which lacks a positive Christian influence forfeits the key requirement for human flourishing.
Review the week ahead. Pray that your righteousness, your relationship with God through Christ, will help those you meet to flourish, bringing life and hope.
Lord, use whatever righteousness that is found in me to positively influence my immediate environment.