I love musing and exploring the book of Proverbs and I am diving in to explore a number of issues that it addresses in these “blogs”:
10:31 The mouth of the righteous flows with wisdom, But the perverted tongue will be cut out.
10:32 The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, But the mouth of the wicked, what is perverted.
11:1 A False balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.
11:2 When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble is wisdom.
11:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the falseness of the treacherous will destroy them.
11:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (Pro 10:31-11:4 NAS)
Proverbs 11:1 – Warns against doing business with a false balance. The basic meaning is: don’t tamper with the scale simply to cheat people out of their hard earned money. It is always a danger that people are simply trying to take our money and will do anything to get it. They simply want to rip us off by cutting corners and cheating on the process. But if we look at the verses surrounding verse 1, we might see some reasons and warnings to help drive home that truth.
10:31 – If someone is dealing with a false balance they have a perverted tongue. A false balance requires people to lie, hide the truth, misrepresent the facts or deliberately deceive their customer. This stands in contrast to the righteous (business owner) who speaks with wisdom and integrity; what the righteous one says is not just honest but full of wisdom – an honest businessman not only tells the truth about his product but wisdom suggests that they are genuinely concerned on how that meets needs in their customer not just pampers their wants and desires.
10:32 – The lips of the righteous brings forth what is acceptable. The wicked (strong word) are those just trying to make money off of you, and what they tell you is perverted. The wicked have no trouble telling you what they want you to hear to make their product look acceptable (paronomastic phrase) so you will buy it. The righteous are actually committed to coming to oneness of mind.
11:2-3 – There are two kinds of people doing business – those who operate out of pride and those who are humble. Pride brings dishonor (practically no follow up sales) and the humble produces wisdom (these are people we can trust). Integrity is essential to guide a business. Conversely, falseness (lit. crooked dealings) will destroy the person or the company… as we have seen even in our own culture.
11:4 – Now we see the consequence of the two ways of doing business: 1) riches are not helpful if you are in jail because of a Ponzi scheme or unjust business practices; 2) Ultimately, the righteous understand that even the way they conduct business has accountability before the Lord. Christians should make sure that that both the ways and means of business reflects righteousness, wisdom, and humility. Obviously life is more than just an abundance of stuff (Matt. 6:25), so why jeopardize your life just for things that can’t truly produce fullness of life. This reminds me of the old commercial where they say, “You can pay me now or you can pay me later…” isn’t too far off the truth.